One evening when I was 8, in the candlelit kitchen of our apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, I sat at the table while my mother stirred a large glass of Kahlua and milk. In the background, Bruce Springsteen sang of gritty streets and the sinister seduction of cocaine. Whenever Springsteen was on the turntable, the mood of our apartment turned morose, and I often felt weighed down by his music as if smothered in heavy blankets.
“I want to talk to you,” my mother said, looking up from her drink as she slid me a glass of chocolate milk. “About drugs.”