Halloween Horror, As Teenage Treat Turns Into Trick

, , , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2018

(This happens while I am outside handing out candy to kids coming around for trick or treating. A thirteen year old kid I know walks up to me with a couple of friends. I give three pieces of candy each to her and her friends.)

Me: “Have a happy Halloween; be safe.”

Kid: *starts walking away happily* “We will; don’t worry.”

(She gets to the end of my driveway and turns around a corner to where I can’t see her. I think nothing of it, but pretty soon I see someone who looks nearly identical to the kid from before, but wearing fewer parts of the costume she had on.)

Me: “[Kid], I know it’s you; you aren’t getting more candy.”

(She looked at me for a moment and, realizing that she’d been caught, lunged at my cauldron of candy, grabbing a handful of it before running off to her friends, who all ran off, as well, giggling, thinking they’d won. But I was still the one who had her parents right there next to me, who saw the entire thing go down.)

Breaking News: Fast Food Can Make You Fat

, , , , , , | Related | November 5, 2018

When I am fourteen, our family moves from Israel to the USA. I am a pretty skinny, petite teenage girl who is used to eating the normal, very reasonably-portioned, healthy diet of home-cooked food that was traditional in Israel.

As soon as we move, my mother takes advantage of the abundance of pre-made and fast food here to nearly completely replace our diet. She brings home things like store-cooked, super-fatty chickens for dinner, and encourages me to eat large portions. She frequently takes me out for fast food burger meals, and pulls out high-calorie ice creams from the freezer to shove them in my face and insist I eat them with her, usually multiple times a day. Instead of sending me to school with an actual lunch, all I get is a thin pita with some chocolate smear for breakfast and money to buy lunch at school, and the only food sold at school is high-calorie, high-carb stuff like bagels and pizza.

At that age, and with my cultural background, I know absolutely nothing about nutrition, and so don’t realize I shouldn’t be eating most of this stuff. Unsurprisingly, within just a few months I gain over twenty-five pounds. Along with the extra weight, I get a lot of very bright, red stretch marks in multiple places, including many places on my legs.

I am finally truly sick of my mom nagging me because I don’t want to go to the pool, due to not wanting to show myself in a swimsuit. I finally pull up my pant legs and show her the red stretch marks on my calves and the insides of my knees. I assumed she would immediately understand, as she herself is a rather large woman, and I have seen her body enough to know that she also has many white scars from old stretch-marks on the legs and hips. Instead, however, she makes a surprised and horrified face at me, and with a tone that sounds like she thinks I have some terrible contagious disease like leprosy, she says:

“Oh, God! What the h*** is that? What’s that horrible stuff on your legs? What’s happened to you?”

When I carefully explain the little I know about weight gain and stretch marks, she looks at me skeptically and acts as if she’s never heard of such a concept before in her life – in any language — and continues to look at me funny for the rest of the day.

Despite this, she continues to feed me the exact same terrible diet, so despite daily gym classes at school and then a gym membership, none of the weight ever comes off.

A few years later, when we’re in a store trying on dresses for me to wear to my high school graduation, I find one I like and try it on. While I’m standing there, looking at myself in the mirror, my mom says, “Oh, this is such a nice dress. You know, you’d look so pretty in it if only you weighed twenty pounds less. Yeah… It’s a shame you’re so chunky, isn’t it?”

Thanks, Mom. You’ve done ever so much for me, and been such an inspiring, helpful, and uplifting person in my life, especially during the always difficult teenage years.

Not A Top-Heavy Romance

, , , , , | Romantic | November 4, 2018

(My husband and I are cuddling in bed, topless. He starts talking to me very tenderly and sweetly.)

Husband: “Never leave me.”

Me: “I would be the biggest fool in the world if I did.”

Husband: “Be with me forever, darling.”

Me: *kissing him* “Of course I will.”

Husband: “And never… never… put your shirt back on.”

(I cracked up. So much for the sweet, romantic mood!)

Kindness Doesn’t Take Half-Days

, , , , , , | Hopeless | November 3, 2018

When I was seven, my family moved to a new house, which was the first house of a new development. By the time school started, a few other families had moved into other houses, but we hadn’t gotten the chance to meet them yet.

One day our school had a half-day, and we were all sent home early. The school bus dropped me off and I happily skipped home, ready to enjoy my extra time off. When I reached my house, I suddenly realized no one was home to greet me. I was always losing things, so my parents never gave me a key. I was scared and cold, and had no way of getting inside, so I did the only thing I could think of: I hid behind a bush in the garden and cried.

I don’t know how long I was there, but it was long enough that I couldn’t cry anymore and my hands were numb. That’s when a strange man approached me. He started asking me questions. “What’s your name?” “Where are your parents?” “Do you need help?” I didn’t answer any of his questions; I just kept shaking my head no, since I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers. He walked away, and I started to cry again. I was even more scared because I thought someone was going to take me.

A while later the man came back, and I was scared stiff. I thought for sure he was going to take me away. Instead, he silently and slowly handed me a cell phone; cells weren’t too common back then. When I answered the phone, I heard my dad’s voice on the other side. We exchanged our “secret passcode,” and he told me the man was our neighbor. He was a good person, and was going to take me to a demo house where I could wait until my dad could get me.

Once I hung up and handed the phone back, my neighbor smiled at me and took me over to his house. We spent a few minutes there as he warmed me up with a blanket, some hot chocolate, and a few cookies. Once I was warm and happy, he took me to the demo house where a woman greeted me. She sat with me for an hour and taught me how to use a Rubik’s cube until my dad finally came and picked me up.

Years later, I found out everything that happened. The school had never informed the parents that there was a half-day, and they were sued for neglect. My neighbor, who was on his way to work, happened to notice my little pink coat poking out from behind the bush. When he talked to me and I denied his help, he was planning on letting it go and leaving for work, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave me. He called up the Homeowner’s Association and let them know what was going on, and they’re the ones who called my dad. My dad told them I’d never leave to answer the phone, so the neighbor drove over, picked up the cell phone, and brought it to me to answer. He ended up being an hour late to work that day. The nice lady who stayed with me kept the house open two hours later than she was supposed to so she could be sure I was safe and warm while I waited for my parents.

Those people are still a part of my life to this day, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have such wonderful and kind people as my neighbors. I honestly don’t know what would have happened that day without them.

She’s At That Sticky Age

, , , , , , | Related | November 3, 2018

(At home, with my four-year-old daughter:)

Daughter: *sniffing* “I’ve got a tickle in my nose!”

Me: “You need a kleenex?”

Daughter: *desperate sniffing* “I’VE GOT A TICKLE IN MY NOSE!”

Me: “So, you’ve got a tickle in your nose?”

Daughter: *distraught sniffing* “NO! I’VE GOT A STICKER IN MY NOSE!”

(My daughter had somehow managed to jam a tiny sticker from a sticker book up her nose. I spent the next several minutes with a flashlight in my mouth, tweezers in one hand, and the head of a wiggly four-year-old in the other, trying to fish a sticker out of her nose. Got it on the second try!)

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