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Love, Cigarettes, and Lavender by Claudia Wair

I remember how much I loved to read as a kid. Books took me from my solitary life as an only child and transported me to Dickens’ London, Austen’s Bath. I carried books everywhere. I was never bored.

I remember when I was too thin. I walked all over Edinburgh daily, back and forth between classes and work and theatre rehearsals, and had only so much money for food.

I remember the soundtrack from my college years. When I hear the songs now, I recall the time when I thought anything was possible.

I remember the only time I was in love. Purely, completely in love. I was certain it would last forever.

I remember the first time I was paid as an actor. It was a posh party at a ruined Scottish castle and my job was to stroll around in 17th century garb entertaining the guests. I used the money I made that night to buy food.

I remember buying my first pack of cigarettes. It was a 10-pack of Benson & Hedges. I felt sophisticated. Cosmopolitan.

I remember when we had to put our 20-year-old dog to sleep. I was torn between releasing her from pain and the knowledge that we were killing her. I cried for days.

I remember going camping alone. There was a thunderstorm, and I was afraid of getting hit by lightning. But the storm ended and the frogs outside my tent trilled throughout the night. I fell asleep to their songs.

I remember how funny my father was. We watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and quoted it daily. My father made up ridiculous poems on the spot and my mother and I laughed until it hurt.

I remember my trip to Provence with my mother the Spring after my father died. We sat eating croissants and strawberries for breakfast on the sunny terrace. The breeze carried the scent of lavender from nearby fields. The fragrance pierced my grief. I reached across the table and held my mother’s hand.


Claudia Wair is a Virginia-based writer whose work has appeared in Astrolabe, Tangled Locks Journal, The Centifictionist, JMWW, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @CWTellsTales or read more at

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