G. started smoking again. I’m disappointed in him, to be sure. But when I hugged him after work today and breathed him in, his smell was so familiar that I felt a rush of nostalgia and affection and desire and said, “Mmm. You smell like you again.”
He’s smoked ever since I’ve known him. I remember walking outside at a party one night when I was about 16, and I could identify him from the dancing orange point of his lit cigarette. I chastised myself in my journal for being attracted to him even then, telling myself ’twas pure folly to get involved with someone destined to die of lung cancer.
I’m disappointed and angry only because I’m scared. I waited my entire twenties—a decade-long blur of angst and urinary tract infections—to find him again. And I never want to have to live without him.
When I contemplate his death—consider life without him, that is, not think about killing him because of the way he loads the dishwasher—I start doing something I did throughout my entire twenties. I start fleshing out Plan B. And since I don’t imagine that I will love anyone the way I loved him, Plan B is the next best thing to an intimate romantic relationship. It’s the same Plan B I had in my twenties: the Companionate Relationship with Gay Best Friend/Roommate Plan. Fortunately, we never got to the artificial insemination part of the plan.
I lived with Ray for a while when I was single, and although at the time all I could think about was moving on to the next stage of my life, I recall our living together with fondness. In fact, living with Ray again is the only thing I can imagine making life without my husband at all bearable. We’d cuddle up the way we used to, make snarky comments about those with poor social skills or errant fashion sense, solve crossword puzzles, and evaluate the sexual desirability of the nightly contestants on Jeopardy. We’d never argue about sex.
I don’t think Ray would mind living with me again someday—if he were single himself. Currently, he is, but who’s to say he won’t have a partner in his old age? Even though he can be challenging to live with (his ex called him “a cunty bitch” and threatened to throw him off a bridge), he has many redeeming qualities and is quite lovable. And if I ask him about my plan, I’m implying that he’ll be single in his golden years, which might offend him. There’s a reason they don’t make a greeting card that says,
“When my husband dies of lung cancer and whoever your future partner is dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, can we live together again?”
This is, of course, assuming that I outlive my husband.
Just because there are no documented cases of anyone dying from a Cinnamon Life overdose doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility.