Delilah’s Mirror Episode 4: Who Stole My Brownies

I have an event that happened when I was in the first grade (yes, FIRST grade, mind you) that has haunted me for years. And I’m not really sure why. It’s one of my MOST vivid memories of my childhood.

It was springtime. I had my little Holly Hobby lunchbox outside on the playground for recess just before lunch. It had a half a sandwich (you see, because my mother was trying to cut down on my calories because I was fat), a thermos of milk, and 3 small (about 1″x1″) homemade brownies in it. I put it on the concrete wall with the other lunchboxes so I could play kickball.

After kickball ended, I went to fetch my lunchbox and noticed the latch was loose, and I looked in my lunchbox and lo and behold! My brownies were gone. At that point, I became frantic. MY BROWNIES WERE GONE!!! I looked and looked for my brownies, but they were gone! I knew someone had stolen my brownies.

Okay, intellectually I knew that the loss of my brownies was nothing to cry over. After all, I could go home just that afternoon and have some. But I had been cheated! Someone had viciously cheated me of my brownies! And, deep down inside, I knew I would go hungry before the day was done if I did not have those brownies.

And so I cried. Quietly, to myself, where no one noticed or cared, until I was lined up to go into the cafeteria and the principal, Mr. Hughes, asked me what was wrong. I sniffled (still trying to keep it to myself), “I have a cold.” Because I knew that crying over brownies was not logical and even possibly socially unacceptable. He asked me again as we entered the cafeteria and sat down to eat. “I have a cold,” I said.

When it came time that I ate my half sandwich and drank my milk, I was still so terribly hungry I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I began to cry in earnest. So the principal asked me again why I was crying and I whispered, “Somebody stole my brownies.”

He said, “Are you sure they were stolen and you didn’t drop them?”

No, I knew they had been stolen. And the principal patted me on the back and went away, and I continued to weep to myself.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the principal came back and slipped me 3 peanut butter cookies. They weren’t my brownies, true, but at least I’d be able to make it through the day without going hungry. And they were comfortable. And somebody cared enough to kiss it and make it better for me.

Now, I can’t recall whether I ate any brownies once I got home, and I never told my mother, because she always suspected me of sneaking food. (That was a bad scene.) And my preferred afternoon snacks were cheese sticks dipped in sour cream. (Which were also sneaked.)

But for some reason, as I write this, I am still weeping over those stolen brownies, and wondering why the HELL I’m still thinking about something that happened when I was 6.

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