The first time I visited Gastown, I was 21 years old. Twenty years ago. My inaugural visit to Vancouver. I’d never even seen the Pacific Ocean before.

I was trying to quit smoking that summer. My way of trying to quit smoking was to buy a pack of cigarettes, cut open a regular cigarette, and roll a smaller one – sometimes laced with marijuana – which I would then smoke frantically and filled with guilt on a cobbled street corner.

My then-partner and I were visiting with the intention of trying to find jobs and an apartment. All that and babies and all sorts of other things came and went over the next multitude of years.

Little did I know that just around the corner from where I sat, smoking to try to quit smoking, there was this condo right across from a rotating neon red “W” (for Woolworth’s) where over two decades later, I would find myself in the sweet arms of a woman too beautiful for words. The kind of woman who’s a little humble about her own beauty; she could be easily missed by the dunces out there. She hides it under a fairly practical disposition. However, I see her. Something delicate and graceful and unmet. Something tidy that I would love to mess up.

I am seeing her now. I like her lightness, her ease with navigating multiple personalities, needs, situations and demands. I feel at home in her structure.

I was so anxious at age 21. I was married to a man and I loved girls, but was under the impression that I would have to fuck only this one man until I was dead. No wonder I was smoking.

Now, I no longer smoke anything at all. It hurts my throat.

I’m more about heading straight into the source: my tongue in her belly button, hand gripping her upper thigh. The smell of her pretty neck. Her soft sigh in my ear. Her soft pout of a cunt all wrapped round itself quietly like a secret kiss. Delicate.

If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be that there is a future to look forward to. What is now is not always, and the desires of your heart will lead you home.

And also, of smoking and many other things, I would say: “The craving underneath is a need for connection. Enjoy the craving as much as being satisfied.”

That’s the whole purpose and process of life.

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