All throughout my life, I’ve heard a saying that experience is the best teacher, and in my case this proved to be true so many times. I can say that no matter the outcome of the situation, each time I was taught a lesson about something, I got the point clearly. I was always one that learned best when I was taught through experience, and on one summer afternoon my mother taught me a lesson that will never forget.
I was twelve years old, and I can remember this day like it was yesterday. It was a typical Michigan summer day. School was out, and there were children running up and down Kalamazoo Street playing football, double dutch, and many other childhood games. Often times in the summer, all of the boys would spend the night over my house since I had three brothers and no sisters. We woke up that morning, and everybody went towards their normal routines. My oldest and youngest brothers were sitting in front of the television set in our bedroom watching cartoons. My mother had just finished cooking breakfast for us and was walking through the house watering her plants. My closest cousin, best friend, younger brother, and I were all bored. As we sat at the kitchen table thinking of all of the different things we could do, someone noticed that my mother had left her cigarettes on the kitchen table sitting right next to the butter dish. I played as if it was no big deal, and we continued to plan our day. My three partners in crime decided to go to my best friends house to play video games. I stayed behind, assured them that I would join them later, the whole time I was eye balling the cigarettes. As soon as they had walked out of the door, I seized the opportunity to take two of my mother’s cigarettes. I looked around to see where she was and saw her in the front room talking to her plants and picking the dead leaves from them, and I knew she would be busy in there for a while. I slowly eased the two cigarettes out of the pack, and crept towards the stove and lit the first one without her even noticing. Once I had the cigarette lit, I eased out of the back door, and went and chilled in the back yard with the four dogs we had at the time.
As I sat in the backyard smoking the cigarette and talking to the dogs, I never imagined I would get caught. My dogs jumped around and played as far as their chain would take them, and I watched them and talked to them as I got comfortable blowing out the rings of smoke. In the middle of the second cigarette I heard the back door open, and before I could blow out the smoke, and put the cigarette out, there was my mom standing eight in front of me. I tried to hurry up and blow the smoke out of my mouth and stomp on the cigarette, but I was caught re handed. She just looked at me and shook her head. She told me to go in the house, and I just knew I was in trouble. I went in the house as she was feeding the dogs, and I was so scared that I locked my self in the bathroom. I could hear my mom return, and I instantly started sweating. As I looked at the blue walls in the small bathroom, I got dizzy, so dizzy I thought I was going to pass out. I noticed that she wasn’t screaming or anything. I sat in there a few more minutes listening, and when I heard the t.v. turn to the soap operas, I just knew I was home free. As soon as I opened the bathroom door she called my name. My heart was beating a million miles a minute as I walked in the t.v. room to see what my punishment would be. As calm as I had ever seen her she told me to sit down. In my head I was thinking, “O lord please help me get out of this”. She didn’t say another word she just passed me her fresh pack of cigarettes and told me to go and light one. I did as I was told, and then tried to hand her the cigarette back. She wouldn’t take it. She didn’t even look in my direction as she told me to smoke it. I thought she had lost her mind, but I did what I was told. As soon as I put the cigarette out I began to get comfortable thinking she was okay with me smoking, and then she handed me two more, and made me do the same thing with those two that I had did with the first one. Halfway through the third one, I began to get dizzy again, and my throat and chest burned so bad. Before I knew it the room was spinning, the t.v. was too loud and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I ran in the bathroom and threw up everything that I had eaten that day. I felt sicker than I ever had before this day. My mother let me throw up and gave me enough time to get myself together before she demanded that I come back to the t.v. room, she handed me another lit cigarette and said, “here smoke this, you want to smoke, here it is, smoke it”. I was still nauseous from the first three cigarettes, and I begged her not to make me smoke another one. She looked at me and put the cigarette out. My mom looked me dead in the eyes and promised me that what I just experienced was nothing, and she assured me that it would get much worse of she ever caught me smoking another cigarette again. I was relieved at first, but I was sick for the rest of the day. I never touched another cigarette after that until I was about 22 years old.