This was going to be ugly. She stayed out all night, and then got picked up by the cops for underage drinking. At least it was her father who picked her up. Her mother would have been yelling.
They walked through the early morning city streets in silence. Just when she thought he was going to let it slide, he began talking, in his deep voice, honed by years of cigarette smoking.
“When I was eighteen I had my first real drink. I had just graduated from high school and was working for Zorrillo Construction. One Friday, my boss ends the job early and asks us to the office. He makes zombies.” He paused. “You know what’s in a zombie?”
She shook her head.
“A shit load of rum with a splash of juice and a teaspoon of sugar. I want to prove I’m a man, right? So, I down ten drinks in a row.”
She looked at his slim, wiry frame and couldn’t imagine he could stand after that.
“I drink more than anyone, and pass out. My boss stays with me. When I wake, my head is throbbing. I can’t stop vomiting. During that misery, Grandma shows up. She was worried when I didn’t go home and thought the worst. When she sees me, she goes crazy. I have to pull her off my boss. He sports a black eye for two weeks.”
Tina’s grandmother was so tiny. “She must have been furious.”
“She was. She asks what I have to say for myself. I say I wanted to be a man and now I am. She asks if drinking made me a man. I say no. Seeing the worry in her eyes made me a man. I learned being a man meant moderation and thinking about others.”