Rounding the corner into our kitchen, I found my baby sister Erin sitting at the table clutching a tall glass of unnaturally red liquid.
“Is that Kool-Aid?” I asked. I knew it was, but I needed confirmation. On our mother’s list of stuff that was harmful to children, refined sugar ranked somewhere between venturing outside in winter with wet hair and bull riding.
As Erin only graced us with words when absolutely necessary, she simply took several loud gulps and, removing the glass from her lips, turned to me and solemnly nodded her head.
Erin watched as I grabbed a glass from the cupboard and threw open the door to the refrigerator. On the top shelf, sandwiched between day-old tuna noodle casserole and an empty jar of pickles, was a tall glass carafe of crimson contraband. I smacked my lips before grabbing the carafe and filling my glass. I had chugged half of it before the fridge door was even shut, but something was wrong. Running to the sink, I spit out the liquid that remained in my mouth.
Leave it to Mom to ruin Kool-Aid. Two cups of sugar means two cups of sugar. I grabbed the sugar canister and began to add it by the tablespoon, sampling in between doses, but never achieving a palatable result.
Sweaty from mowing the grass, my dad walked into the kitchen.
“Is that Kool-Aid?” he asked.
“Yeah, but it tastes weird,” I said as I poured the counterfeit Kool-Aid down the sink. Erin continued to watch me over the top of her glass as she polished off the few remaining drops of liquid.
“How are you drinking this?”
Erin slid from her chair and didn’t even spare me a glance as she passed en route to the fridge. On her tip toes, she reached to the top shelf, and pushing the carafe out of the way, retrieved a plastic pitcher. After filling her glass, she set the now empty pitcher down on the counter in front of me.
“Kool-Aid”, she said.
Returning to the fridge, she pulled out the glass carafe. Again she placed the container in front of me.
On her way out of the kitchen she closed the door of the fridge with her foot.
“Gross!” I said reaching for my glass. I filled it with water and began to chug.
My dad simply stared at Erin who could be seen in the living room, seated in front of the television and enjoying the last of the Kool-Aid. Slowly he began to shake his head from side to side.
“Why is it always the quiet ones?”