This I Believe: Coke Icees
This I have come to believe because of my grandpa. Almost everyday after school, until I could drive, my grandpa would pick me up. I always looked forward to this trip because it was a chance to relax from the stresses of school. The second the bell rang, I would immediately check for the daily text message of what number parking spot he was at. Every day I laughed at his texts because he ended each message with a “-GP” so that I would know it was him. No matter how many times I told him I had his number saved, he kept doing it.
After admiring the text, I traveled through the loud and chaotic halls of the middle school. After making it through the stressful crosswalk, trying not to get yelled at by the teacher on duty, I began the search for the parking spot. I mostly had the numbers memorized because he parked in the same 3 spots every day, yet I still felt a sense of panic that I wouldn’t find it. I would suddenly feel a sense of relief leave my body as I saw his grey Tacoma reflecting the sunlight. As I opened the door, my face would be struck with the fresh scent of a new car. My grandpa, still to this day, keeps his truck as clean as it was when he got it, including the way it smelled.
After sitting down on the light grey, stainless fabric, I was always welcomed with a joyous, “Good afternoon!”, from my grandfather. As he would shift the gears to drive, he would immediately ask how my day was. I always, without hesitation, started ranting about how my math teacher didn’t teach us anything or how I had 3 tests that day. No matter how serious or stupid my rants were, he always listened and I could always count on him to listen.
It was usually about halfway through my telling of the day, when we would take the Signal Mountain Road exit. Sometimes I would forget about the daily Circle K trip, but I could always count on him to remember. After parking, my grandpa always gathered the exact amount of change from his truck's coin box before entering the building. He waited in line to pay as I approached the various 12 flavors. While the other 11 were very tempting, the coke icee always drew my hand to its filling station. I had gotten pretty good at filling the crystal clear, Circle K cup as high as I could without it pouring over its edges. As my grandpa finished paying, we met at the door at the exact same time everyday. As we walked to the truck, I would take my first slurp of the chilling, syrupy, crushed ice, I loved so much. Even though my grandpa had diabetes and couldn’t enjoy it like me, he still brought me everyday, because he knew how much I loved it.
Nowadays I am older. I don’t have to rely on my grandpa to be in a CCS parking spot at 3:20, or to send me a text during the middle of my last class period. While I have gained more freedom as I get older, I lose the time spent with my grandpa. Instead of having someone who cared to hear my stupid daily report, I drive home alone. I won't lie, I love being able to drive, but that gain has lost me countless conversations with someone I love most. At the time, I didn’t realize how much each 20 minute car ride meant to me, but now I think of him and get a glimpse back to the endless conversations, each time I buy my large coke icee from Circle K, with the exact amount of change.