Seeing Your Parents in a Different Light By Pete Rosky

I hadn't seen my family for a few years. I'd moved away young, and never really came home again. When I was in my late 20's I went home for a family gathering. It was at my sister's home. I hadn't seen my folks in years, and I was happy to hear they had both quit smoking. When I got there, I decided I wanted to do something with my dad, since we hadn't been on great terms. Dad loved the ponies, so I took him to the track. We had no sooner left my sister's home when he said pull in over there, and pointed to the 7-11. I pulled in and he said, go get me a pack of smokes. I said, "I thought you quit?" He said, "Don't tell your mother, it will kill her." I went and got him his smokes. He smoked unfiltered Pall Malls and he finished that entire pack in less than half a day. We had a great day. He hadn't been to the track in years, and he saw heaps of old friends, and had a ball.

When we got back to my sister's house, I was busting to go pee. I raced in, only to find the bathroom occupied. I waited a few minutes, and when the door opened, a small wall of smoke came out, followed by my mother. I looked at her, and said, "I thought you quit?" She said, "I tried. Don't tell your father, it will kill him."

I'll never forget that day. That was the day I realized my parents were just people like everyone else. They were acting like kids, trying to fool each other. Sadly, they both died of cancer later in life. I guess, even without telling each other, it killed them.

in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


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