Eventually, I grew on you.
But you didn’t make it easy. All throughout your childhood you were constantly moving around; soccer, basketball, karate — who were you kidding?
Just sit there and let me take over, for Christ’s sake.
When you were a kid, really little — I think you may have been nine or ten, maybe — you’d scurry down into the basement of your folks’ place, into the office. Which wasn’t really like an office, it was more a place to store the ever-growing library of Encyclopedia Britannica growing like a moss on a rickety bookshelf along the wall. Next to the rusted out rowing machine in the corner, and the Sanyo computer, was a filing cabinet. The corners were bent inward like a moth’s wings when it’s sleeping, and the drawers didn’t quite close thanks to a couple of clumsy movers.
You’d creep along the carpet to the cabinet. One hand holding it tightly to the tracks the other slowly pulling it along making sure nobody heard a peep. Finally it revealed a plastic bucket filled with rolled coins.
But to you, it may as well have been the Oak Island Money Pit.
Sneaking a peek around the corner, you’d take two rolls of quarters and stuff them in your pockets and bolt out of the basement with all the speed and dexterity of an olympic runner.
“I’m going out”, you’d scream to your Mother loading the dishwasher.
Trippingly, you’d make your way down Cherrington Street, and by the time you reached the bottom of Cowan Avenue and took the sharp right turn into the plaza you were salivating at the possibilities that lay ahead.
The name said it all.
Indeed they were.
Six kaiser rolls and one dozen cheese sticks.
You could set your clock to it. Every now and then you’d mix it up with an oversized chocolate chip cookie or two. They were the size of dinner plates with the consistency of chaulk.
Still, a hint of milk and they were right as rain.
Sometimes you’d sit alone in your room and just eat the Kaisers and bread sticks all in one shot. Just the bread, no butter or anything. Right out of the bag.
Most times though you’d head to the kitchen and dig out a hole in the centre of three Kaisers and fill them with chedder, stick them in the microwave until the cheese was bubbling over the sides and onto the plate.
It was more like a soup, than a sandwich.
Once those three were finished, you couldn’t stop. You needed to finish the bag. Get rid of the evidence, so to speak.
Much to my delight. It made my job a hell of a lot easier.
Nine years old and stealing so you could binge eat Buns Master in your bedroom. You’re like a wet dream to me.
And sure, people tried to get in the way.
Like that time your family played Weight Watcher’s: Home Edition. Etching weekly numbers into some drug store bristol board. Tacking it up outside the bathroom door. Mere feet away from the scale.
You hated that fucking scale.
I didn’t mind it. It was carpeted. This royal blue colour that jumped out at you, it was a billboard for low self-esteem.
And there you all were. Mother, Father, Sister, Brother — all pitted against one another.
It was supposed to read like a plan to rid yourself of me. But instead it read more like a recipe for shame.
Without malice, but with great consequence.
Another time they tried to flush me out with grapefruit. Succumbing to the pressures of the monthly Prevention magazine subscription and following in the footsteps of the daytime television gurus, you attempted to banish me with nothing more than a bag full of citrus and a box of sugar twin.
But that didn’t work, now did it?
I’m like a tune that you hum because it won’t leave your head.
I’m here to help — to guard you against the pain — protect you from it all. I make it all palatable in one way or another.
I’m your oldest, closest, and most dearest friend.
I tell you one thing, you’re going to have to fight like hell to get rid of me, because I’m not going anywhere.
I love you.