When I was five or six, I stole some money out of my mum's purse.
I don't remember how much it was but I know it was a note rather than coins, but money was always something other people had when I was growing up, so it was a BIG DEAL. I was in first or second class and I remember I had one of those little hard sided cardboard school cases, secondhand, and my dad had painted it erky poo brown to try and make it not look quite so used. Although I didn't understand the feelings then, even at that age I resented not having something bright and shiny new like all the other kids, and that somehow translated in my tiny undeveloped brain into dipping into mum's purse.
Anyway, I took my ill gotten gains and went to the corner shop on the way home from school and spent every last cent on sweeties - I remember there were sherbies and milkos and cobbers and a host of other types of lollies and things that time has forgotten. The little brown case was literally overflowing with sweetie goodness. I can remember the glee I felt when I got home from school that day and tippy toed to the garage to gorge on sugar, instead of going straight to the kitchen for lime cordial in my special cup and a peanut butter sandwich cut into eight triangles, that mum would always have ready for me when I got home.
The garage was dark and scary and smelled of dust and old leather (why are smells so evocative?) and I never, ever went in there alone. Except for this day. I'd barely opened the hateful case before the door swung open and I can still see the image of my mum's outline in the doorway against the glare of the afternoon sun. I couldn't see her face, just the black shape of her against the sun. I remember she was wiping her hands on her apron.
She didn't say a word, just quietly took the case - and its bounty - away from me, held my hand and led me into the house. I don't remember what punishment I got (probably a smack on the bum that stung for a minute or two and no TV, but that would have been all). But when she sat me down on the little child sized wicker chair that was mine alone, and gave me my drink and my snack I do remember the tears in her eyes and what she said then. "Megan, I'm so disappointed in you." Makes my heart clench in my chest just remembering.
I've never stolen anything since and I think I've probably spent the rest of my life trying not to disappoint her. I still like eating sweeties, though.
That be the end, friends. Thanks for reading <3