Done with a late breakfast, I decide it is a good idea to warm my stews and soups. In the process, I decide it would be nice to have some vegetables alongside the rice and stew I am contemplating for supper, having had such a late midday breakfast.
I reach for the green vegetables tucked somewhere in the lowest section of the refrigerator. To my surprise, I had a few things there I hadn’t remembered to use for a while. There was a canned malt drink, a bottled soft drink, some yams, some papayas ‑ two in fact ‑ and a 1.5 litre party-sized Coca Cola.
My immediate business is to get the green vegetables, wash and slice them. I do just that. Now that my stews and soups are cool enough to be re-refrigerated, I think it wise to clean the fridge a bit. I can see a few particles I hate to see in such a place in my house; so, I get into the motion of cleaning in a rather irregular but comprehensive manner.
Just as I was getting done with the exercise of cleaning, I decide to relocate my remaining two bulbs of pineapples into the lower section so that all fruits and vegetables ‑ including the last duo of tangerines ‑ could reside side by side for easy identification. It was at this point that I had to decide on where to reposition my king-sized bottle of Coke.
Just as I raised the Coke, contemplating where to put it, I notice something, a little foam near the meniscus of the liquid toward the cover. Wait a minute. I know Cokes to foam when poured out into glasses or when shaken, but… The colour of the foam wasn’t stained black as would with a malt or a coke, it was somewhat red or was it maroon or purple? Then it strikes me, it is not a Coke! But what is it?
The answer to this puzzle isn’t far-fetched, but totally amusing.
You see, on my birthday anniversary, May 3, 2014, my good mother kindly packaged and sent all manner of goodies my way. Upon receiving them, I store away very quickly those I thought I couldn’t consume immediately, dealt with the ones I could. Before I called her and my kid sister up to say my thanks, I noticed this big bottle of Coke.
You see, I do not drink Coke anymore. I stopped taking this drink over a decade ago. I had experienced some health challenges with respect to it, so I banned myself from further intake, and it has been so for the past thirteen (13) years or so, and they both knew about this. So, in my mind I wondered, ‘Why did they add this?’ My logical mind swings into action. Maybe in their excitement to send me goodies, they forgot about my problem with the drink; or maybe they had forgotten about the matter since it had taken such a while and we weren’t living together anymore; or, it could be they anticipated that I would have guests and being as busy as I often am, they were minded to ease the burden of going out to get drinks for well-wishers who would come around. Whatever… I was grateful. I am not in the habit of looking gift horses in the mouth, I wasn’t about to start. I picked up my now oil-stained htc® phone and went profuse with my gratitude. We had a good laugh about my childhood and all of that.
I did have guests. We ate and shared a good time together. Unfortunately, because there was quite a bit to eat and drink for the numbers present, the Coke became unused. A lady in the number would have had it except that I had in addition to other things, some wine inclusive, given her some malt drink as a takeaway. She wasn’t going to be selfish or greedy. She suggested that I reserved the Coke for my little nephews who just might be coming around any soon. That was a nice idea. I would have a happy congregation of excited little nephews sipping away at an abundance of Coke as they asked for more amidst little rebukes by their mum, my sister-in-law.
After several weeks, schooling and personal schedules wouldn’t let them come or even let me remember to pick it up and drop it over at their place, which happens to be very close. So, the Coke remained in the fridge.
At some point, I even promised to do a Coke party for my youngsters in Adehyemma Press Corps, a club on which I serve as Patron. Again, tight schedules and the fact that there was a Muslim fasting population in the club, I thought it unfair to go ahead without them. I had to suspend it until the Ramadan was over. Unfortunately, by the end of the fast, we were all too busy to do a party. We had pressing matters to discuss and finalize before we hit the road home-bound for a well-deserved six-week holiday. And so, in a rather humorous way, neither an earlier planned hot beverage party nor my proposed Coke party came off. My ‘Coke’ stayed chilled in the refrigerator.
I was about to make a discovery that would send me into fits of laughter and more sobre moments of contemplation.