“Just take it!” My mom shouted at me.
“In a minute!” I yelled back. Throbbing and aching, I fell back onto my mom’s headboard. Sweat coated the back of my pajamas, dripping down my skin. The cool wood soothed my boiling head that was covered by a tangled mess of hair and perspiration. I stared into the little measuring cup in my hand, the purple liquid inside taunted me. It smelled like floor cleaner mixed with a perplex purple grape glucose. My sinuses convulsed at the scent and my stomach churned, unleashing the bitter taste of stomach acid coated princess shaped noodles from the Campbell’s soup I had eaten earlier.
I couldn’t do it. The cap filled with cough syrup stayed stagnant in my hand, which was growing more clammy by the second, and I looked at my mom. Her eyes were gigantic boulders, settling their weight on me and leaving me unable to move.
“Do I have to hold you down like you’re a baby?” She snapped.
“No,” I took a deep breath, “just let me take my time.”
I always got sick as a kid. Whether it was strep throat, a cold, the flu, swine flu, a stomach bug, sinus infection, bronchitis, or just a nasty cough, my mom would always give me grape flavored cough syrup.
I never liked cough syrup. I can’t even remember a time I took it in less than ten minutes of procrastination. My mom didn’t even allow me to take it alone either. Mainly because the last time I did, I flushed the medicine down the toilet. Then I appeared in front of my parents with a smile and an empty cap, but they knew I didn’t take it.
The only good thing about taking the medicine was my mom would let me have a drink of her soda afterwards. They never let me drink soda, so that always was a good reward in my book.
It had been fifteen minutes and all I could do was stare at the cough syrup. My mother still sat there, her eyes still boulders, each second becoming more tense than the last. All she could do was beg for me to take it.
“You take it.” I said.
She dipped her finger at the top of the purple liquid, thick and sugary, and put it inside her mouth. She then pulled it out with the sound of a pop from her lips.
“It’s so good. Just take it!” She exaggerated.
I never believed her. Every single time she would taste it in front of me, I thought it was torture. How could she think something so terrible tasted so good? It had to be a trick, I thought. Several minutes passed, antagonizing and long, and I finally gathered the courage to drink it. I didn’t hold my nose like she told me, and I didn’t just pour it down without thinking, I was immune to her trickery and I refused to be fooled.
I slipped the cap under my lip and flavored a slight taste of the medicine. At that moment, my nervous system shook and my taste buds shattered. But I was determined to do it. I threw the lid back and the thick sugary substance coated my throat. I felt all of my blood rush to my face, and I was overpowered with an uncomfortable heat. My stomach twinged and my heart fluttered. All I could taste was the terribly awful flavor of grape. I reached to the bedside table and chugged the bottle of dark soda, still cold and bubbly, while catching a glimpse of my mother who had let out a sigh of relief.
To this day, I still cannot eat or drink anything with artificial grape flavor. No matter what it is. Even grape scents give me the familiar stomach churning. I am now scarred for life, but if there is one thing I learned, it is given proof that even if I procrastinate, I always get it done.