Heather Witherden, comedian smokes chocolate mint shisha at Firefly (Jim Agapito)
If you see me with a Cheshire cat smile on my face it's because I have a little secret. You see, the only thing that makes me happier than having a little secret is sharing my little secret.
That's why I was so excited to try out the Firefly Shisha Bar on Ellice Avenue; not only was it not very well-known, but it felt a little dangerous and if I may say so, slightly illicit for a suburban Mom. Truth is, I am not a stranger to the hookah; I've actually had one in my own home for over 20 years, but never used it. I valued it for its beauty but doubted its utility; sort of like Kim Kardashian.
While still in university, I met my future husband. His bachelor pad décor had the usual elements: the homemade futon, the questionable nude photography, but something else stood out: a large brass vase with several hoses attached. He explained that it was a gift from his world-travelling parents; it was from Saudi Arabia and it was called a hookah. Middle Eastern families would lounge together and smoke, he told me.
Then I asked about the rather large black leather horsewhip also hanging from the hookah. He said the whip was not really for family activities in that same cultural sense. I stopped asking questions but I felt immediately jealous; the best souvenir I ever received from my parents had been Mexican jumping beans . Surely this new boyfriend came from quite elegant stock; either that or he was the biggest druglord in Portage La Prairie .
After getting married, we moved across the country and the hookah always came with us. We viewed it as a conversation piece at a time in my life when the rest of my art pieces were IKEA prints and questionable nude photography. Less exotic times ensued; three kids in four years made us slightly dull. Somehow those risqué art pieces disappeared over time, but we always kept the hookah.
As I relaxed on the leather lounger and admired the colourful murals, the owner of Firefly set up the hookah with a chocolate-mint flavoured shisha and ignited the coal for me. When I sipped my first smoke, I was surprised at the smoothness. As a nonsmoker I assumed this smoke would be irritating but it wasn't; I inhaled and exhaled over and over , feeling calm and enjoying the flavour as well as the novelty of the experience.
I would love to tell you I made perfect smoke rings all evening but in all honesty, I mainly looked like an extremely civilized and relaxed dragon. I was happy to share the exp[erience in front of the cameras but also look forward to returning with some friends, if only to blow a smoke ring in honour of my old brass hookah.
Heather Witherden, Comedian
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