I was not allowed to chew gum. My parents told me that it looked like “a cow chewing its cud” and it was not polite. So I was never allowed to have it, which of course only made me want it more.
One day, while at the grocery store with my mother, I found myself eye-level with the most beautiful bright pink wrappers I’d ever seen. It was just calling my name…
“Mommy? Can I have that gum, pleeeeeease?”
“No Sara, you know the rules”
My spirits deflated immediately.
There I stood, sulking and staring at the most gorgeous bright florescent pink wrapper I’d ever seen. I thought I could smell the scent of strawberries through the package and could just taste what I thought would be heaven. I just had to have it.
So I took it. I hid the marvelous pack of gum in my pocket, never taking my fingers off my prize the whole way home.
When we pulled into our crooked driveway, I ran to my bedroom and shut the door.
My was heart racing as I carefully peeled back the string and paper at the top of the gum package. The pink wrapper gave way to shiny silver, and diligently I took out the most perfect rectangle of Bubblicious Bubble Gum.
My mouth immediately started to water as the smell of sweet sugar reached my nose.
Quickly, I popped the giant pink confection in my mouth and tried to start to chew.
Slowly, methodically, I tasted the sugar, the sweetness. I chewed and I chewed. Moving the wonderful gum from the back of my mouth to the side and back to the other side. Each bite, releasing more and more flavor.
Then, without warning, I heard a door shut and I snapped out of my reverie.
Quickly, I spat the chewed gum into its wrapper and stashed the evidence under my bed. Carefully hidden out of sight and just under the dust ruffle of my brass bed with the white bedspread and green flowers: my treasure, my forbidden bubble gum.
For the next three days, I cherished my stolen treasure. Carefully sneaking away to taste the forbidden treat and practice chewing the gum like I’d seen the big kids do. Each time as a new piece entered my mouth it made the sides of my cheeks sting from the shock of sweetness.
Until one day, when there remained only 2 untouched perfect pieces amidst the pile of wrappers and chewed remains. It was laundry day, and the sheets were stripped from my bed. And I was caught.
With hands on hips, my mother asked me how the gum had gotten under my bed.
I lied and said I didn’t know.
Without skipping a beat, my jacket was thrust into my arms and my mother started driving us back towards the grocery store. We drove in silence while inside my mom’s pocket, she carried the last two pieces of MY gum.
We entered the store and my mom asked for the manager. She reached in her pocket and silently handed him my last two pieces of Bubblicious.
He looked down at the package and then at me, then at my mom. After a quiet pause, he looked at me again.
Then with a very angry furrowed brow, he told me what happened to people who STOLE. I heard the word “police” as I stood there paralyzed with fear.
Finally, after what felt like eternity, I summoned the courage to speak, and I muttered, as best as I could, how very sorry I was for stealing his Bubblelicious and I promised to never, EVER, steal again.
And I didn’t. EVER.
This is a true story that happened when I was 5 years old. I wrote this in response to a TRDC writing prompt: “write about a treasure that was stolen from you or your character, and what you did about it.”
I should have known better, in fact, I did know better (otherwise I wouldn’t have hidden the wrappers) but I think this was a part of my growing rebellion, you know right before kindergarten when I really peaked. You can read about that here.