My father was never the beer drinking father, like most kids had. He was the Coke drinking father who was always available to be designated driver.
“Can me and Brian split a can of Coke?” I would shout from the top of the stairs, down to my parents in the basement. We always had Coke in the house, or practically always, but I still always felt like I must receive permission from my parents to have any. I like to think I had a healthy respect for them, most of the time, asking before taking. We had a good life, but our parents taught us a healthy gratitude for everything we got.
One of us would get the can and the other, they would get the half of the can poured into a glass. It was often the two of us, brother and sister against the world.
When I was 11 I was like any other kid my age, growing up in the mid nineties, and wanting what we call, in Canada, not soda, but pop. I loved sugar, but I also craved salt.
I began to sneak those fast food restaurant salt packets. I would eat the salt off of Pretzels and I even sprinkled salt on my potato chips because they weren’t salty enough.
How many eleven-year-old kids crave salt? It would have been a tough choice, at that age, between a can of sugary pop or a bag of extra salty snacks, but, at a certain point, around age eleven, the salty snacks would have won. By necessity. Something in my body needed, demanded it.
This is what would change my life forever. I had been born blind and lived that way, just another part of who I was. After my eleventh year, there was no denying that something was very wrong.
It’s been more than twenty years since that eleven-year-old craved sugar and so much salt. My kidney disease was growing worse. The nausea was increasing. The fatigue was putting me in bed right after dinner, almost nightly, feeling so weak and unable to run and play like I’d always done, like kids did.
This was the year after I celebrated my tenth birthday, with friends at McDonalds. (A paradise and a sugar/salt lover’s dream come true.)
After the year of the Beverly Hills 90210 poster and the Mariah Carey cassette given to me for my tenth birthday…I was not well as my next few birthdays came and went. I was not expecting to spend so much time in bed, on the couch, unable to eat anything other than that salty, processed, packaged chicken noodle soup made in a pot on the stove.
Bowls and bowls of the stuff were consumed by eleven-year-old Kerry.
I will never forget what it felt like to be eleven and drifting away from any semblance of a normal childhood. The next few years would be trying ones, but I am who I am today because of it all.
Both the salty and the sweet, bittersweet memories of a childhood, never boring.
This was more of the story I’ve been writing for twenty years, the one I want to continue writing, from the year I was eleven and unwell. It was brother and sister, always, and my brother would follow my footsteps, getting sick like me, three years later when he turned eleven.
This was the prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
Kristi, the orchestrator of all of this, she gave me the idea to start with the can of Coke. Read her post by clicking on the link above to see where I drew tonight’s inspiration for the prompt.
What were you doing when you were eleven?
5 thoughts on “Salty Sweet, Bittersweet #TGIF #FTSF #pieceOfCake”
That’s like my dad, but it was Pepsi for him! He said the difference was vast!
That’s startling to be 11 – and to find out something was wrong.
When I was 11, I was physically fine but definitely feeling the strain of emotional issues.
Ah yes. The famous Coke/Pepsi debate. Know it well. My family were often split, 50/50 on that one.
Yes, it was a physical and a mental and emotional thing with me. Kids are sensitive people, with so much to deal with, even at a young age. Sometimes adults forget what it was like. Thanks for reading and commenting.
You joined this week’s sentence with brilliance, Kerry! Seriously, you took your readers to feeling ill and feeling like a kid and not feeling like a kid so effortlessly, it’s amazing. The whole “show, don’t tell,” which yes, I realize the irony of that with you not seeing. But I see you as a kid, on the couch, craving the salty and the sweet, and wow, this needs to be a part of your book when you write one. SOOO glad you joined this week!
Me too Kristi. The only thing I worried about was whether I could still put these things in a book some day, if they were previously published on my blog. I will rewrite of course, but I hope writing it now doesn’t make things more difficult when I hopefully do get to something more I wish to do with it in the future.
Thanks for the compliments. Means a lot coming from you. I worry a lot about that whole “show…don’t tell” thing in my writing. I try not to think about it too much or I would end up over thinking.
Hay kerry did you ever make swamp water back then? I was never a big pop drinker at home but when we go out or stop some were me and my sister would go nuts when they have the pop dispenser out for the customer to fill. We would mix as many flavor pops as we could, so best name to call it is swamp water. Diet coke, sprit, rot beer and orange pop all in one cup. Some time it’s good other not so much.
No child should be denied the chance to experience the wounders and experimentation of the sweets and the salty as well as the boring healthy world of foods.
Thank for some of your sweet and salty memories kerry.