About 20 years ago I was in a relationship for about a year with a woman who was a few years older than me. To give her a name, I'll call her Lena. We met in an art class she was auditing and I was instantly attracted to her on many levels. We got to know each other, started dating, and became lovers.
I was immediately up front with Lena about the role her smoking played in my attraction to her. She not only understood, but embraced it. Since going our separate ways, Lena and I have stayed in touch and see each other from time to time when one or the other of us is traveling through or near the others city. Even though in the years since we were together, I met, entered into a committed relationship with Marcus, and eventually married him, Seeing Lena never failed to get my juices flowing, and I knew that her smoking was part of the reason.
Talking with Lena earlier this year, she mentioned that she had stopped smoking for health reasons shortly after her 48th birthday, but had done so by switching to electronic cigarettes. I congratulated her and laughed when she grumbled about them being a poor substitute. When she said "It's sad, but I miss killing myself" I referred her to vesperae's "Joy of Tar" piece. I also wondered how I would react to her the next time we met.
Lena breezed through town yesterday. Since I didn't have to work today, we hit the town and had a great time. She is still beautiful, still the lithe dark-haired beauty with the flashing eyes and smile that caught my attention across a crowded studio. But she doesn't smoke. No, instead she sucks on a somewhat realistic imitation of a cigarette. Gone is the sight of her lighting up. Gone is the knowledge that every time she takes a drag and inhales she is taking the Risk - the Risk we used to share.
We are still good friends, and I still love her dearly. For her sake, I am glad she quit smoking, particularly since she did it of her volition; and I would never wish for her to resume the practice. All the same, part of me is disappointed and wishes she hadn't. I'm going to have to let it rattle around in my mind and see if I can get my mind around it. Have others here had similar experiences?