By Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron

I discovered you at the young age of sixteen.  Having watched you in my mother’s life, she seemed cool and always smiling with you, like she had no care in the world.  I would wait for her to go to work, steal one of you and act just like her.  You made me feel like a woman, a grown one.  Then it progressed, I had to show my ‘womanhood’ to my friends.  I would light you up around them, show them how to blow you into a circle, blow you through my nose, hold you in and then blow you out… I was cool, finally!

Little did I know your Power!

To add to my cool-factor, I could not light just any of you.  Newport, Kool or Slim could not do it.  That was beneath me!  I had to go to the top of the line, you had to be a Marlboro and not just any.  You had to be a Marlboro Menthol Ultra Lights! You see it is not just about picking you out of the pack and lighting you up.  You are to be handled with care, my lips have to be moist and ready to receive you…

Ohhh How I underestimated your Power!

Over the years you have been there for me, when I was stressed, relaxed, thoughtful, happy, sad, the perfect companion to a good glass of Pinot and the greatest reward after a night filled with ‘pleasure’.

Your Power is real indeed!

But now after more than a decade of enjoying your company, my body tells me that it is time to let you go.  You of course, won’t have any of it!  You remind me of the good times we had together, you scream in indignation that I now leave you after having used you all these years, you mock me:  How many times have I threatened to leave you, but never followed through.

How you have underestimated MY Power!