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Buried Green Bottles

As I took my initial sip of beer in that dusky bar on that rainy night in Amsterdam, I forgot about Van Gogh and the canals and tulips, and was right back in Smithtown. The first beer I ever drank was with my friend Will when we were thirteen. Our mutual buddy worked as a dishwasher at Angelo’s and somehow managed to stash a six pack of Heinekens next to the dumpster when he took the trash out back during a Saturday night shift. Will and I hid behind one of the long Cadillacs in the restaurant’s black parking lot and snatched the prize once the coast was clear. Instead of drinking them that night, we buried the green bottles in Will’s mother’s flowerbed and decided to meet after school on Monday to pop them open. I rode my ten-speed over to Will’s two days later and then like two thirsty pirates, we exhumed our treasure. We wiped off the dirt and each drank two green bottles under the pale blue afternoon sky in the backyard. Will’s mother wasn’t due home for a few hours and we sat with our tepid beers on the back stoop. I held my bottle by its neck as if I was posing for a magazine ad and sipped from it like I’d seen uncles do at family barbecues. Before I left to go home for supper, we ate Oreos to mask our breaths. My head was a little muddy as I pedaled home and I prayed that my parents wouldn’t know what I had done. Whenever I see the Heineken red star logo on a tap handle or the iconic green neon burning in a bar window, the memory of my baptism to beer with Will after school is unearthed and I can picture the black soil, and the emerald glass, and taste the Oreo cookies and encroaching adulthood.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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