There was an idea, a seemingly foolproof plan, that had lurked in my head for a while. During the last few months of school, I’d been thinking of trying to study in the hours that no one was around to disturb me– early morning and late at night. At least so far, there’s no construction at 3 AM!
The only reason my foolproof plan kept failing was that I couldn’t sleep in the day.
Regardless though, I’d been taking to the night. Four years ago, I couldn’t have possibly stayed up past one. But I think, when I look back on my high school years, I may just associate 2 AM with thermodynamics. Go figure.
Unless I am super distracted, in which case I give up at 2 and go to sleep, at least the studying at night part of the plan still doesn’t fail me. (One minute… I’ve done nearly zero studying since school ended, this statement has no evidence backing it up.)
But as always, there’s an exception to the rule, and I’m not even talking chemistry.
Mum sometimes checks up on me if she momentarily wakes up at night. Sometimes she gets me a water bottle or yells at me to go to sleep (“it’s already 3 AM!”) or comes with the dreaded question: “Did you/Will you have your milk?”
This one particular night though, she decided, after checking up on me, to make something to eat, possibly for my sister’s tiffin the next morning.
She wouldn’t tell me. Maybe it was one of the protein powders she’s trying out on my sister. I’d know if I heard her scream the next day.
I was sitting with some chemistry, only half awake. I’m scribbling down reactions of burning salts, high ignition temperatures and product gases when I smell smoke.
I realise it’s probably too late in the night. So I glance at the clock for permission to leave, and it laughs back in my face.
It’s only 12:30 AM. What?
So I get up and go outside to grab a bottle of water.
There’s actually smoke, I can’t hallucinate a smell and cough! I frown.
My turn to check up on mum.
Mum says, don’t open the kitchen door.
I say, someone outside’s burning something?
Mum says, I was cooking…
I realise something.
You burned something? I ask.
“If you need a water bottle, take it from outside.”
“What were you cooking?” I ask.
Mum doesn’t answer that.
“I thought it was late, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“But what could you possibly have burnt this late at night?” But she won’t say.
I begin to laugh. This could end up worse than mystery meat! In that moment, I forgive my sister for everything.
Smoke on the water
A fire in the sky
Man, mum makes it possible!
The laughing soon turned to coughing though, and I had to open every window in the house. Diffusion of gases. Middle school chemistry.
I did eventually return to my (new and improved) high school chemistry, only to find that it was 1 AM. Half an hour? My foolproof plan nosedived out the window.
I remember sitting down with a sigh, thinking, ‘spoke too soon’.
The Next Day…
The Burnt Magic Potion had revealed itself.
It was a mixture, just as I’d suspected. Like mystery meat though, I don’t know what it is. I can’t know the ingredients, that’s just the way it is. Of course, I only came to know from the scream.
As I sat with a chemistry text book, I heard coughs and screams. By the time I rushed out to see who needed a paramedic though, no one was there. My sister, the lab rat, was in the bathroom, possibly puking. What she’d left behind was a sight to behold.
It looked like a scene straight out of Trainspotting.
There was disarray at the table, some spilt liquid (water), overturned glasses, oh, and powder. A lot of powder, sprinkled over the table like someone had recently had a hurried session. All I needed to do to complete the scene was draw the curtains and darken the room.
I didn’t stick around and sniff though, but headed back to my chemistry books. [Fun fact for geeks and junkies: this chemistry text book of mine almost teaches you how to prepare herion, codeine and morphine. Almost. I know the structures. It’s under a section called “Everyday-life Chemistry. Come talk to me. 😉 ]
I did later hear something about puking up breakfast. The Magic Potion’s done it’s job, I’d say!