When I was growing up my parents, like most parents, had a liquor cabinet. A fascinating, magical place that held bottles I wasn’t allowed to touch. I grew up in the south and was allowed a swallow of my father’s beer occasionally and on a very rare occurrence even a small small portion of wine. Honestly the most alcohol I got on the regular was at church from the communion.
When I was in my teens, around the age of 16, I discovered that this magical place didn’t even require a key to access. It wasn’t like a gun cabinet where there was no way in hell you were getting in. I decided it was probably a good time in my life to see what the difference was between those colorful bottles and the beer I’d already partaken of.
I quickly learned I wasn’t a fan of gin. The bottle with the English looking guard was cool and all, but gin tasted like rubbing alcohol… don’t ask how I knew that. I had no clue you weren’t supposed to drink vermouth straight, so that was a gross experience. Vodka tasted like a less awful rubbing alcohol, so that left the curious bottle labeled Dewars. I was instantly drawn to this bottle because a dewar is actually a type of dwarf and since I loved fantasy novels it really made sense I’d probably like the mysteriously dark liquid within.
I loved it.
When I took my first taste it burned like fire and I was afraid I was having an allergic reaction. The burning subsided and I quickly felt a loose, mellow sensation that I knew was meant for me. All the cares a 16 year old kid could have began to fade away.
That D I got in school, no biggie.
Doing my laundry? Eh, it will get done.
Chores? What chores…
It really was a friendship on first sight situation. I realized though, as I kept sampling, that there was now a big problem. The bottle wasn’t as full as it used to be and even though my father rarely drank it… he’d instantly notice being the observant man he was. I began to panic. I mean what excuse could I give? I couldn’t say it fell and spilled because then they’d ask the obvious question as to what I was even doing touching it. Couldn’t blame my brother because he wasn’t living at home anymore. My sister… they’d never believe that.
I did what anyone left with no choice would do. I filled the bottle with water from the sink, gave it a hundred shakes to see if the color would darken, then prayed no one touched the dewars for a few years till I went to college.
When I did go to college my parents decided to sell the home. My mom came to visit me on campus and took me out to dinner. I’m really not sure how it came up, but a conversation on things we’d done as kids that they knew about began.
“By the way… we had a party before we sold the home and decided to have a cocktail party,” she said out of the blue.
I had no clue where she was going with this. I’d been at college for a couple years and alcohol was no longer a big deal to me.
“Someone tried the Dewars Scotch we had. It was mostly water…”
Secrets never last forever I guess. They always catch up with you…