Nearly the entire floor was covered with our loot as my brother and I sorted our takings from the day’s Trick or Treating. The first step was to categorize everything: chocolates, sours, gummies, loose change, miscellany. The prep work facilitated the trading that would then occur. Jim didn’t really like things like Spree or Sweet Tarts. I didn’t want anything with nuts. He’d get my Mr. Goodbars, I’d get his Sour Patch Kids. Trades had to be fair and equitable. There was no way I was giving up a full size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups pack that I didn’t even like unless I was getting the same amount of candy in return.
For some reason on one particular Halloween, I ended up with an extraordinary amount of Brach’s Butterscotch hard candies. I loved them, but since I was only about 7, my mother really didn’t like me eating them. I come from a long line of women overly concerned that their children will choke on hard candies. I knew I had plenty and figured no one would notice if I snuck one. I gingerly opened the wrapper, doing my best to cover up the crackling of the plastic. Jim was busy organizing his bounty by the order he’d like to eat it, so he couldn’t care less what I was doing.
I popped the candy into my mouth. It was sweet and buttery, just like I knew it would be. There was that hint of slime around the very hard part that let you know it was sitting on someone’s shelf a little too long. I swirled it around with my tongue, letting it knock into my teeth. Then I chomped down on it so my molars would dig in and get stuck, straining my jaw to release it. Over and over I did this, enjoying the taste as much as the getting away with sneaking the candy.
The thing about getting away with it was key. We were allowed to select one piece of candy to eat before bed on Halloween, once my mother declared everything was safe. Getting to have two pieces when Jim only got one would mean that I was the ultimate victor. I sat there thinking about how much better than him I was. He wouldn’t dare sneak candy because he was afraid of our parents. But they didn’t scare me.
“Hey, Jimmy!” I called out.
I was going to stick out my tongue and show him the butterscotch. I couldn’t wait to watch his face turn purple with anger and see him run off to tattle. He looked up from where he was sitting and I moved the candy to the front of my mouth. As I opened my mouth to speak though, the candy slid to the back of my tongue. I tried desperately to bring it forward but to no avail. It slipped down my throat.
I panicked. I jumped up and grabbed my throat, trying to cough the yellow disc up. Jim didn’t know what was happening so he just went back to his sorting.
“What’s going on in there?” Mom called from the kitchen. I couldn’t answer. All I could do was cough. I couldn’t stop, but still nothing came up.
No one answered my mother, so she called out again.
“I think Michelle is choking,” Jim said, completely unalarmed and never taking his eyes off his pile.
My mother came running in to find me coughing, red in the face, flailing my arms about. She asked what I was choking on but before I could even attempt to answer she went off on a rant about how this is why we weren’t supposed to eat any candy. I showed her the butterscotch wrapper I had shoved in my pocket.
“You’re not really choking if you can cough. I’ll get you some water. That’ll dissolve it.”
She came back with a cup of warm water. She made me sit on the couch and drink. I could feel the hard lump in my throat. It hurt, but at least I had stopped coughing. More water was administered, until eventually the candy could be swallowed.
“Mom, my stomach hurts,” I whined.
Glancing over with a dirty look, the lecture started back up.
“This is what happens when you don’t listen.”
“If you’d have just waited…”
“How many times have I told you not to eat hard candies?”
“You always have to try to make your brother mad.”
All of it was true. And that’s when I realized that I had never gotten my authorized piece of candy. With all of the commotion and water consumption, I didn’t even notice Jim was chowing down on a Hershey’s bar.
“Mom, can I have a piece of candy?”
The glare I received in return made clear her stance on the matter. I sighed to show my disappointment and placed my water glass on the end table. I cleaned up my candy from the floor placing it back into my plastic pumpkin. I put my best pout on and endured more lecturing about how my disobedience meant that I didn’t get to have the few fun things she could give me in life.
“Fine,” I said with a huff. I should have said I was sorry, but she was really starting to annoy me. “I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Yeah, well, you drank enough water,” Mom said. “Get ready for bed while you’re up there.”
I stomped up the stairs, still letting my mother know how angry I was at her. I went into the bathroom and closed the door just a little bit too hard to further illustrate my point.
I reached into my pocket and retrieved the snack sized 3 Musketeers I had shoved in there while I was cleaning up. I leaned on the door and savored every single bite, satisfied in the knowledge that I had won after all.
I’m linking up again with Yeah Write. I couldn’t ask for a better community of writers to hang out with.!