I was never exactly a kleptomaniac, but occasionally I’d be overcome with a case of sticky fingers and I’d end up with a penny candy in my jacket pocket that I hadn’t exactly paid for. Usually I’d forget about the candy until I got home, given that there were so many interesting places to explore and people to talk to between corner store and our house, like Gertrude the calico cat who came out to the sidewalk to say hello no matter what the weather. Or the low-slung house with the creepy porch that was dark and nearly full of old furniture. I’d imagine the giant rats that likely lived in the cushions of the old blue couch and I’d walk on the far edge of the sidewalk until I’d reached the next yard. The small fluffy dog whose muffled barking from behind a livingroom window reached me.
Sometimes the candy would remain in my pocket for days or weeks. Then, on a car ride or on our walk to school I’d surprise myself by finding it and pop it in my mouth, an unexpected treat.
“Where’d you get that?” Blythe, my older sister would say, her judicious eyes turned away from her book and toward me.
I’d roll the candy over my tongue, the delicious sugary flavour sliding down my throat. Shrug. “I dunno.”
She’d turn away, not believing me, and sometimes making the choice to leave it alone. For the moment.
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