It was February and cold outside. Dad had set out the ashes from the fire earlier that morning to cool. Since they had been sitting out all day, Mom assumed they were fine to be thrown out in the bone dry grass that covered the back pasture. Dad arrived home not too long after Sara and as we were all catching up on each other's day–Sara rambling on and on and on about her stupid chocolate–Mom looked out of the kitchen window and noticed some smoke trailing up into the sky. She and Dad rushed outside onto the back porch to see the pasture ablaze. Mom did her normal "the whole world is gonna burn down!" routine and her and Dad scurried, blankets in hand, towards the danger. Mom yelled back at me and Sara, watching wide-eyed through the screen porch, "You girls stay there!"
Well, Sara, being the pyro-expert that she was, decided, "Hmm, I should probably help, too, seeing as how I recently learned to stop, drop and roll in Mrs. Lassiter's homeroom." So, off she goes to "help." I, being perfect, decided to stay on the porch. But, watching two adults and a know-it-all kid put out a field fire gets kind of yawn-worthy after a bit, so I decided to rummage through my sister's belongings...I was never allowed in her room. Apparently, all things pure and good cannot enter the lair of darkness.
I sifted through her model horses (just to verify that I did, indeed, have a way better collection)...perused through her Nancy Drew books...tried on some shoes...but there, on her bed, gleaming with the light of a thousand suns...the box of chocolates from Ainsley Taylor. (cue angels singing) Surely if this was left on the bed out in the open, she meant it for me to find. Why else would such a prize be left unguarded. After a few moments, I reasoned that Sara had truly left the box for me and I snatched it up and ran back to the porch. When I got to the porch, I looked down to see that two of the pieces were gone. Huh. That's weird. I looked at my hands...chocolate smudges on my fingertips. I must have eaten some on the way over. I don't even remember that. I must have blacked out. I pressed my nose to the screen...cheering on my family...encouraging them in their brave endeavor, "Put it out! Wave the blankets harder! Good job!" I looked down...three more pieces of the delectable nuggets of happy were gone...one piece left. I should probably save this one for Sara...to let her know I appreciate her sharing with me. Through the screen, I see three soot-covered silhouettes walking back towards the house. "Well done, family." They had succeeded in quenching the fire's thirst for dry land. As I turn to make my way back into the house to prepare a pitcher of lemonade for my, no doubt, parched parents and sibling, I glanced at the now empty container that once held six beautiful and decadent bites of joy. My face and the front of my shirt must have eaten the majority of the chocolate, for both were smeared with the goodness. Unashamed, I hastily retreated to Sara's room and placed the closed box on her bed just as it had been when I first discovered it. They would never know.
I trotted gleefully back to the porch, to find my family dusting themselves off...like weary travelers...Mom looked at me briefly and smiled as she averted her focus to shaking her socks clean. She paused, and slowly turned her head towards me again...no smile this time.
"Ruth, what have you been eating?"
"Eating? What? Woman, you must have smoke inhalation poisoning or something. I've been here, on the porch, the whole time."
"There is chocolate all over your face."
At this point, Sara had loped to her bedroom, not caring about the trail of ashes she left behind. When she reached her bedroom, her cries of woe bellowed from her heart of hearts...those sounds now infamous as the Mourning of 1986. She ran back to the porch, empty box in hand.
"MOOOOOOOOOOM! She ate ALL of my chocolate!"
"Yeah, that wasn't me."
"Ruuuuth Leslie! I can't believe you! That was Sara's chocolate!"
"And it was delicious."
Moral of the story, don't leave a 3-year old chocolate addict unattended. And if you parade around in front of your little sister like the Queen of England, she will bring you down a few levels.