Hey friends from The Red Dress Club. It’s me, Katie Sluiter of Sluiter Nation. I’m over here today with my post because I just felt it fit here since it’s about my past before becoming a Sluiter. I will probably post more remembeRED posts here if they take place pre-Sluiter.
I am not rebellious.
I think I covered that fairly well in yesterday’s post on Sluiter Nation.
I know this now, but I was unaware of my goody-goody lot in life as a teenager.
I so badly wanted to be a rebel. I wanted to do something wrong and…cool…but not too wrong, but way cool.
The evening was warm and clear, but we were all piled on the sectional in the basement watching Pulp Fiction for the billionth time.
When the movie ended, Ken headed to the back deck for a smoke break before we started the next movie.
I had known Ken was a smoker for a long time, but had recently found out that more than half of the people in that basement had become butt-suckers.
I was startled at first…then bummed.
Why had no one included me on this newly found rebellious act of being an angsty teen?
Even my best friend who, up through middle school, was the most painfully shy two-shoes you had ever met, was all about burning a dog every now and then in social situations.
In fact, she was bumming a stick off Ken on the deck.
Well screw this noise, I wanted in.
“Teach me to smoke,” I announced to the two of them as I silently close the heavy glass sliding door.
They just stared at me. There was laughter in their eyes, I could see it.
I glanced behind me through the door. Cort and Mat are picking up the ping pong paddles. Erin is cuddled with her dog on her end of the couch. Phil and Robb are laughing about something said to the ping pong players, and Lance is reclining with his hat over his face probably wishing we would just start Reservoir Dogs.
Two-thirds of the people inside are smokers.
I turn back to Ken and Tonya. They are both sitting there with their smokes…so cool and calm.
Two-thirds of the people on the deck are smokers.
“Come on, guys,” I said with a bit too much whine.
“Ok, but all Ken has are Menthols,” Tonya told me.
“So?” I was totally acting like I knew what she was talking about.
“Well, it’s just that…they…it’s just going to burn a little.”
“Whatever, give me one.”
I snatch the cigarette out of Ken’s stained hand and smell it. Minty. How could this be bad?
I put it in my mouth and lean in to the flame that Tonya had lit for me with her pink lighter.
“Um, Kate? You have to suck in while it’s in the flame.”
“I know that.”
I suck in and watch the cherry glow.
I quickly realize my mouth is full of smoke. I let it fall out of my open mouth without even coughing. I try to act all “whatever” about it.
I am awesome.
And cool. Don’t forget cool.
Ken is giggling. As in wipe-the-tears-as-he-shakes kind of giggling.
I shoot him a dirty look.
“Ok, Kate?” Tonya begins, “You don’t just put smoke in your mouth, you have to actually inhale. Otherwise you look lame. Only lame smokers don’t inhale. In fact, they are called non-smokers.”
“Well teach me to do that. What do I do? Swallow?”
“OH GOD, NO! Come on, Kate. You were an honor student, swallowing is not the same as inhaling. You are not EATING the smoke.”
Ken is dying.
“KEN! Stop laughing at me. I need help. I want to be all slow and cool and blowing it out my nose like you do.”
And now Tonya is laughing.
These are my friends.
“Let’s just start with inhaling. Watch what I do. I will pull the smoke in my mouth and then breath it in.”
She takes a long drag on the stick, pauses and motions for me to watch, then she over exaggerates a breathing in of whatever air is in her mouth.
“Ok, I get it,” I say as I snatch my cigarette away from her.
I suck in a bunch of smoke.
Ken and Tonya have taken pause from their humiliating laughter to watch.
I smile with my mouth full of smoke and breath in mostly with my nose, but a little from my mouth.
I continue to smile as I breath out.
“Um, ok. Sort of,” Tonya says.
“Look! I am not coughing like a maniac!”
“That’s because you barely inhaled,” Ken chuckles.
“But I did it. I am awesome. And smooth. And so cool.”
With that I take a longer, more confident drag.
The mint fills my lungs and burns.
I promptly cough my face off while dry-heaving.
This post was written in response to the prompt asking us to write a memory prompted by this picture: