Words and Memories

10 comments | June 25th, 2012

(story submitted by Her Cousin, a Chestist)

We were at my cousin's house.  I'm pretty sure I was 8 or 9. 

My father was sitting with his sister, having a smoke, when I walked up to him and said – not really meaning it and for some reason thinking it would be funny (it wasn't) – "you have to choose.  me or the cigarettes", at which point I turned and walked away.

Hysterical, right?  I remember my father's response just as clearly.  He said (not knowing I was trying to be funny) "I hope that's a choice you won't make me make."  I'm 8 or 9 and I've just unintentionally put an ultimatum in front of my father.   The thing is, I remember having this doubt after he said that where I wasn't sure what choice he'd have made.  That didn't feel good.  * or 9 and I may have lost to a cigarette.

Sometimes now and all these years later, I wonder if that one moment, that one response to a joke that wasn't funny at all, has influenced me negatively.  Why do I remember it?  Why do I remember that feeling of doubt?  Does it endure in a way that goes beyond memory?

BTW, my father quit smoking a few years later, and we have a very nice relationship.  It's not what he did mean or what did happen that I think about, but instead what he might have meant and what might have happened to that 8 or 9 year-old me. {end story}

You never know what words will change someone's life ~ or your own.  The words don't need to matter, the person saying them may not even know they've any significance at all.  But BOOM to the person listening they're ripe with impact.  You remember hearing or saying any words that have had a lasting impact on what you think, how you feel, and who you are?