Here I am, six-years-old.
I walked into the kitchen and stumbled across a cup of bubbly black liquid sitting on top of the dining table. My eyes glistened in mischievousness and my thin smile broke into a wide grin. I knew, or so I thought I knew, exactly what I was looking at: a shining goblet of Coca-Cola.
Mind you, since I was only six, soda was on the no-no list of things to drink. I have never had soda prior to this moment. My dad was in the garage and my mom was out of the house. An opportunity to be totally unsupervised didn’t come often, so I knew this was my chance to sneak in a few sips.
I slowly approached the cup, and – my dad came back inside. Oh, God! I’ve never booked it to my room as fast as I did that day. I had rug-burn marks on my knees and elbows from falling over. I was in pain.
But, curiosity got the best of me, and I knew I had to go back. I waited in my room until my dad went back inside the garage. As soon as the door slammed behind him, I ran back into the kitchen, looked to my left and right before I once again, approached the cup.
My fingers reached for the sacred chalice, my eyes widened, my mouth began to water, and – my dad came in again! But I was holding the cup, and there was no turning back. My lips pressed against the edge of the cup, I took the biggest gulp I possibly could.
Right away, I realized: 1) this isn’t coke, it’s coffee, and 2) my dad left his used cigarette in the cup – and I just swallowed it. My dad saw everything and immediately ran towards me. Then with a huge swing of his arm, he hit my back, forcing the cigarette out of my throat.
If there’s anything I learned from this ordeal, it’s that my dad’s slap burns like a mother-father. And, don’t sneak behind your parents’ backs! With full determination, that evening, I still managed to sneak in a sip of Coca-Cola…