It is late at night and my brother, Tim, and, I, need to get to bed. Trying to think of an excuse to stay up a little longer, we complain to our dad how thirsty we are. Our dad gives in, and we make a trip downstairs to the kitchen. To our amazement, we find there is still some soda left in the fridge. There are about two cups of liquid left in the liter-sized bottle. My dad looks exhausted and anxious, so he decides to let us drink the soda. My dad is not too concerned with evenly distributing it in two cups though, but it is something he will soon regret.
My dad is always a patient and kind man. He is caring and he is always making time to play with us and my three sisters. He is hard working and he does not expect much in return. My family depends on him in so many ways, and we would not know what to do without him.
What happens next is Tim and I start fighting over who gets to drink out of the bottle first. We are stressing our dad out so much that he has to take the bottle from us. What dad decides is that since Tim is not making as much of a fuss, he will let him go first. Root Beer is our favorite drink and I just could not stand seeing Tim drink it all right in front of me, or at least I felt he was. It starts to give me anxiety as I watch him tilt the bottle a little higher.
“It’s not fair, he’s drinking it all!” I complain bitterly.
Right back at me Tim shouts, “No! I barely drank any yet.”
Trying to keep us calm, my dad announces, “Now Peter, Timmy just started drinking it, so let him drink a little more and I’ll make sure you get some.”
Watching him take a few more sips, I start to tighten my fist. After seeing him drink a good portion, I lose my patience. I hit the end of the bottle against his mouth as he is drinking it. He takes a step back and complains that his tooth hurts, it sank in that I did something I should not have done. Tim, looking up at me with angry eyes, like he wants to make things even, steps towards me. Dad puts his hand on his shoulder, and he eases up. I am relieved, considering he is two years older, but now I am faced with dad.
*I really thought I was in for it now, but something happened that I did not expect: he got down to my level. He looked at me sternly with his eyes fixed on me. It almost felt worse than getting spanked, because I had trouble looking back up at him.*
Knowing I am easy to get hurt, he then changes his tone of voice to sound more caring and concerning, "Why would you even think of doing something like that?"
In petty defense, all I could come up with is, “Well, he was drinking it all...”
Dad just half smiles and says, “I was watching the whole time. I wasn’t going to let him drink it all. And even if he did, that doesn't give you a right to hurt him. Now, I want you to look at your brother and tell him you’re sorry.”
Facing my brother with my head down, I reluctantly say that I am sorry. Tim, knowing he has to, says he forgives me as he is giving me this grim look. I look back at him as he is saying it, and I notice he slightly grins. We both are thinking the same thing- it is funny to forgive each other with the meanest look we can give. Now, Dad, proving to me that he would keep his word, lets me drink the rest of the Root Beer. Feeling everything is resolved now, we start heading back upstairs. On our way up, I begin to whine again, “I told you he would drink more than me! I felt like I barely drank any! I’m still thirsty!” Dad just looks up at the ceiling with this unnerving look on his face, hoping it is not true what he is hearing.
The usual routine is that Dad puts us to bed and Mom puts our sisters to bed. My dad also usually has everything under control, but it turns out to be a mistake that he let us have soda. There is not anymore trouble for him at this point forward though. I am sleeping in my bunk bed on the bottom, and I always lie on my side faced to the wall when I am about to fall asleep. My dad gets up from his chair and places it against the wall, and as he is walking out, I face towards him. I am looking at his back, and I decide not to let him know I am still awake... something that is not normal for me. Just before he is about to leave, he looks back one more time. My dad is close to shutting the door, but he pauses when he notices me looking at him. "I love you Peter" and then he shuts the door. I face the wall again.
*Since I was only four, and he passed away that same year, I knew that moment meant enough to be remembered for the rest of my life.*