We were young and in love. We spent most of our time naked in his itsy bitsy dorm-room. Just before they were about to send out a search party for us, he went out into the world. It was raining and I felt insanely happy to have a guy defy the elements for me.  He went out to get us a pizza and we ate it – only slightly soggy – accompanied with a bottle of cheap red wine. It was the best meal I had ever had. Just like hunger makes everything taste better, so does love.  We consumed this meal on odd chairs by his messy and book-covered desk, in the fluorescent light of his uncharming desk lamp. Outside, the rain was falling hard, and inside, so was I.

We even had dessert. He had bought a box of chocolate-covered banana-flavored marshmallows. We each had one and inspired by the bananas – and with us being young and in love and whatnot – it was time to get back to monkey business.

Over the next couple of days, I’d occasionally take a little chocolate-banana-thingy. Just while watching “Frasier”.  One to eat with a cup of coffee. And one for the road.

Then one day, I thought I’d surprise him and cleaned his room really nicely. I vacuumed, changed the sheets, washed the sink, dusted and tidied. As I was putting all of his books in a neat pile, that chocolate box, now with only two pieces left, bothered me. It looked so messy, sitting there. So I cleaned up good and ate them.

Boy, was he happy when he saw what a good little girlfriend I had been. “Well, this calls for a piece of chocolate”, he said and looked happily about for the box.

“But… I ate them all”, I confessed – embarrassed.

It lay completely outside of his imagination that someone could do something like that. To him, what I had done was unfathomable. He went from flabbergasted over awestruck to furious and then relentless. “You ate them ALL???”… “You. Ate. Them. ALL?” “But… I only had ONE out that whole pack… You ATE THEM ALL??”

Naturally, I was mortified. The shame was unbearable. Oh, to be caught being greedy. Horror.

“I’ll go buy you some new ones”, I tried… “I’m sorry”… And he still didn’t let up.

Shaking his head in disbelief: “You ATE them all???” He went on. And on.

My shame and humiliation turned to anger. Although I was clearly in the wrong, he was being a dick about it.

It was our first fight. This proved to be the first time we faced the fact that we had been brought up in different cultures.

You see, he grew up in a family where everything is divided evenly down to the last penny, morsel, milligram, millimeter – no one gets a neutron more than anyone else. Where their culture regarding the concept of justice might be a tad on the anal side, I would say they have a “normal” relationship with candy.

I grew up as the middle girl with two brothers. In my family, our relationship with candy can only be classified as “insane”. Or to use the medical, Latin term: “Fuckedibus Uptimus”.

When I was a kid, if we were having company over, usually, we knew there would be some kind of dessert involved. And my brothers and me would go hunting.  My mom would try to hide the chocolate but we outsmarted her every time. We found chocolate in the old clock, in the freezer, hidden in old pots, behind the fancy china and under the towels.

It may sound like we were playing some kind of fun game but we were deadly serious. It was never about sharing. The rules of the jungle applied. So if we ever found any candy, chocolate or nuts, we’d eat it as fast as possible – preferably in secret, so that no one else would notice and try to take it away. We would fight over it. Physically.

To this day, the first thing any of us do when visiting our parents, is a quick search in the cabinets and drawers to see if they have anything candy-ish. I recently sat with my brother in my parent’s kitchen when my hawk eye suddenly spotted a tiny piece of red wrapping poking out behind the plates in the very top cupboard. “Is that chocolate?” He got up and saw that it was less than a quarter of an inch of paper sticking out. He pulled at it and out came a bar of chocolate. “Awesome work, my friend”, he said as we hi-fived and wolfed it down.

So I am sure you can imagine my relief when yesterday I visited our neighbor. My kids were with me and as we were about to leave, she asked me if it was ok to give each of the boys a piece of candy. She pulled out her candy jar and rolled her eyes. “You know, my boys are in their 40’s and still, the first thing they do when they come here, is to open this cabinet and go straight for the candy jar. Hell hath no fury if it is empty. They’ll go through my entire kitchen looking for sweets.” She chuckled.

I beamed.

I love to hear that I am not alone.


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