Their Illicit Lover

 This is one of my darker posts. And for a good reason. Please read through to the end.   A true story.


He said he would kill them

In his time, in his way

And yet they let him stay


Even before they loved each other

They loved him

Faithfully and steadfastly

And when they married

He moved in with them


Years fell away

They had children

Dreamed dreams

Lost their dreams

Then found them again

Aged a little

And aged a little more

They shared everything with him


Yet he never ceased to whisper,

“One day I will kill you”

By now it seemed a carnal jest

A monkeyshine


And then he killed the man


The woman was gutted, emptied

The man had been everything to her

 “Not you!” she screamed,

“It was never you I loved!”

And yet she let him stay


A generation passed

Before she found the courage

To make him leave

When she did, he said,

“Did you think it would matter?”


Eight more years passed

And then suddenly and without warning

He came to fulfill his promise

“Why did you wait until now?” she whispered

“Wait?” he said

“My dear,

I began killing you

The day we met”

He stayed till the end

Not because he loved her


But because he wanted to watch


Cigarette smoking kills six million people every year. It is the most preventable cause of death in the world. It killed both of my grandfathers. It killed my mother and my father, too. It was they who inspired this story. She was 69. He was 45. I will miss them forever.

I will not miss their illicit lover.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Memoir, Poetry, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Their Illicit Lover

  1. pkadams says:

    Sigh. 😦 I was expecting alcohol, and they often go together. Or it can be prescription drugs. Or food addiction. We can ruin our health in so many ways.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It killed my father at age 69. His last years were spent in misery as he gasped for each breath. He had begun smoking down on the farm in 1914 at age 11 because it was cool. I had a close teen friend in the 1950s who used to laugh as he lit up and say, “Here’s another nail in my coffin.” He laughed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Yeah, my generation was the first to start turning away from cigarettes. I still remember the “smoking is not glamorous” posters in our high school rooms. Sadly, teens are now starting to vape in large numbers.


  3. Teressa says:

    Wow. Excellent. Thank-you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How sad. When I volunteered at a hospital to sing to the cancer patients, I was asked to sing at the bedside of a woman dying of lung cancer. It was so painful to watch, and I found myself wishing that my middle school and high school students who flirted with smoking could spend fifteen minutes in the room with this family I was thinking it would probably give them nightmares, but they would never light up again.
    This is very well written, Mitch. Have you sent it to the American Cancer Society?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. John Eli says:

    This was intense and accurate. Great work.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So sad Mitch. You lost them way too young. This piece really kicks, stays on your mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. nancyehead says:

    My mother was only 54. Great post, Mitch. God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. M.B. Henry says:

    Oooooh chilling. I am so sorry you lost your parents to this. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  9. smzang says:

    I had no idea where this was going but I had total faith that it was a message that needed to be heard. It surely is. It must have been painful to write. I am so sorry for your losses.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Joan says:

    I have never seen a point more powerfully made.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is so powerful, Mitch. I didn’t know how it would end and it ended with a punch! Wow…. Well done! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  12. revruss1220 says:

    Wow. Powerful stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. anitashope says:

    Excellent poem. Yes I hate that lover as well. It took many members of my parents generation and some of mine but a little less. My children’s generation think they are doing better with vapor but it still is causing issues. I have never understood the desire to inhale damaging air.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow, thanks for composing and sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Yes, it was dark, but oh so real. Well written and well said.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Garfield Hug says:

    I am sorry for your loss! Cigarettes are lethal.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. gregoryjoel says:

    Thank you Mitch. I’m going through the quitting smoking thing right now and I need all the reminders I can get. I know I’m doing the right thing (and have wanted to for a long time) but nicotine addiction is a nagging demon that makes quitting a struggle. My Dad passed from a smoking related illness but he used to tell me he was only hurting himself. Unfortunately, his loss hurt the people that loved him. I miss him every day. I remember that when I look at my family today. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. grAnnie Roo says:

    Reblogged this on What's Next: Behind Roo's Ruse and commented:
    Another example of the mastery of Mitch Teemley:

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This is brilliant. Working in healthcare I have witnessed many victims. So sorry for your losses though. I pray others heed this warning.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Great message, and well written, of course!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I was there and found the way out. we will never gain back the loss. We have an opportunity build on the shaky base.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Susie Ries says:

    This hit home. Both my parents smoked but stopped when I was about 6 ( mother) and 10 ( father). 18 years later my mom started smoking again to lose weight. Dad had started again a few years before. On Mother’s Day i went by their home to give her a gift and dad brought her out of their bedroom and she was walking like a marionette. She’d begun having headaches weeks before . The next day she was having surgery for a brain tumor. She died 6 weeks later at the age of 52. I was 29, my sisters were 28 and 24 and my brother was almost 8 ! She only got to meet 2 of what became 11 grandchildren and none of her 14 great grandchildren. I raised my brother til he was 21 so she missed him growing up. My dad died in 1994 of who knows what but all smoking related and missed a lot too. All For a cigarette . And the worst thing is my brother doesn’t really remember a mother who loved him and would have done anything for him except Not smoke….

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Ann Coleman says:

    This was so sad, and yet also very powerful, Mitch. Made all the more so because you lost your loved ones to the smoking habit. I’m old enough to remember when people didn’t think smoking was dangerous, but everyone knows better now. And yet I still see young people smoking. It’s horrible…. And I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. DigiThanks says:

    It is very heartbreaking story. Losing parents must be so difficult. So sorry for your losses. cigarettes is silent killer and unfortunately is the causes of many deaths. Stay strong!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Dark. And real. Very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. How powerful.
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Sending strength your way to cope ❤.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I’m with Sulaiman, above: a powerful post, Mitch. May it reach the inboxes of those who are ready to get rid of THEIR illicit lover.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. My dad’s brothers and sisters and my grandfather smoked. The average age at death was 55.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. charlypriest says:

    Yes, read it completely now. Plus I will have to go to some sort of therapy after this whole read.
    A powerful read for sure. A good read, enjoyed it very much.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. K E Garland says:

    Wow Mitch! I hate that smoking killed your parents too (my dad died of lung/throat cancer). However, this poem is very well written and compelling. I kept reading to the end to find out who they’d willingly invited into their homes, knowing “he” would kill. Very poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. HAT says:

    Just ran into this:
    Thought of you, and of this post, and thought you would appreciate it. Alas.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: A Message from My Heart | Mitch Teemley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s