Friday, December 11, 2020

Here's a Memory

When I was about 10 years old, I went with Zhong, my best friend at the time, to his cousins’ apartment in Manhattan to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The apartment was somewhere in Chinatown, but this was a long time ago, so I can’t say exactly what street. 

When we arrived at the apartment, Zhong’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and a slew of other family members were in the living room. I remember one of Zhong’s cousins, a woman in her 20s, came over to me and handed me a gift: a red envelope with a little bit of money in it. Exchanging small red, cash-bearing envelopes, I learned, was a custom of Chinese New Year.  

Anyway, at some point during the gathering, I found myself in the bedroom of the apartment, alone. For whatever reason, I took a seat on the bed, and as I was looking around, my gaze happened to fall on a bottle of whiskey. The bottle, which was more like a carafe in shape, was among several other bottles on a fancy-looking trolly next to a long wooden bureau.

Being 10 years old, I got it into my head that it might be interesting to try the whisky. I had never drunk alcohol before, and I guess my curiosity just got the best of me. So when I felt the coast was clear, I went over to the trolly, removed the bottle's stopper, took a sip, and...

Was immediately repulsed: IT WAS PERFUME.

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