I played four years of varsity football. Football in Florida is a special type of hell. Two a day practices in august in humid heat ruined the state for me.

I’ve had blood drained from both my knees with a large needle. in my memory I still feel the metal scrapping against the bone in my joint.

I’ve had two joint surgeries.

I did time in the army.

I’ve waited four days to get out jail over a holiday weekend because, ugh.

I’ve had my tonsils out as an adult.

I have twins.

I’ve known the pain and frustration of doubt, fear and failure.

But nothing has ever happened in my life that equals the pain I experienced when I stopped smoking cigarettes. Every moment of my day is still flavored with that habit. When I stopped I had to learn to live again with a constant pang of want.

Even after six years this pang haunts me.

Maybe one day it will go.

But the ghost of stupidity for even starting will be with me forever.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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