Mari Katherine Raftopoulos: If you smoke, you smoke
March 3, 2010
Her lips are freshly stained red from her Dior lipstick, her shirt neatly tucked into her trendy dark washed denim jeans. And her gold jewels adorn the Mediterranean blue sweater wrapped around her neck. And even though she is cleaning the house and cooking for her guests, she looks like an ad torn from the pages of a fashion magazine.
Minus the olive stain on her cobalt blue sweater and feta cheese between her fingers, she looks like a model. Her elegance in the kitchen can turn a snack into a five-course meal. When her work is done in the kitchen, she exudes happiness to know that she has fed us a meal from her heart. Once she leaves the kitchen, she becomes one of us. She becomes one of the girls.
She takes a sip of her coffee leaving her red mark on the rim of the cup. She then fumbles through her purse for her version of dessert to satisfy her sweet tooth. Much like the beautiful gold bracelet that always accompanies her wrist, this cigarette makes her hand complete. The way the smoke lingers from her red lips is much like the fog that fills the air on a cool fall morning. Much like the way a breath lingers slowly out of ones mouth on a cold winter night.
She smokes without concern of the consequences. She does it naturally. And it is the motion her hand makes when smoking that keeps her addicted. She makes you accept the idea of smoking. Not for yourself but for the culture. And we American girls who have been instilled with the negative mentality of smoking question the ease she has when lighting up her cigarette in the mid afternoon. "So, do you smoke in the morning and at night Ritza?" my friend asked, because the thought of this repetitive habit seemed far from normal. "She" is my aunt from Greece. Her answer was simple.
She said, "Of course, if you smoke, you smoke."
This is a Greek woman.
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This is a Greek life.
And beneath this mentality, this one phrase carries all the truths to what makes this culture so rich. It is not about smoking. It is about living. Living life like you want to.
She doesn't smoke because someone tells her to, and she doesn't stop because someone tells her to. She does it because she wants to.
If you love, you love.
If you hate, you hate.
If you laugh, you laugh.
If you dance, you dance.
If you cry, you cry.
If you eat, you eat.
And if you smoke, you smoke.
It is the idea that whatever you do, do it to the fullest. With this comes the honesty within you to find happiness.
Do not love just because you like the way it sounds to say "I love you, too" back to him. Do not eat the piece of fruit as dessert if you will later settle for a piece of chocolate. And when tears roll from your eyes, let them pour down, every drop.
Among the smoke, the truth in her character stood clear, she winked and said, "Your father is going to kill me."