It looked at me screaming, “Pick me up already!” its sugary fingers resting barely atop my gleaming patent leather shoes. Its very bigness compared to the other candy pieces—that alone was startling enough. It was clear that it was meant for me and only me. Staring down at it with horror, it may as well have been a tarantula crawling up my leg.
But let’s go back to the beginning. It was early evening on the annual Christmas party at my Dad’s work. The dreaded time had come when Santa appeared with his large bag of mysterious, odd shaped, multitudinous candy thrown awkwardly over his rather skinny shape. Kids screaming in throngs rallied around the good Santa, hands open wide, pockets curving outward as catcher’s mitts. Pushed out by the angry hand of my Mother (I was shaming her in social circumstance), she scowled at me and ordered for me to go get my share of candy.
The candy made a particular loud sound to me as it hit the gleaming reflective hardwood floor. If this were a baseball game, you could definitely say I was in the bleachers, and everyone else was catching foul balls behind home plate. Santa kept throwing candy interminably, and it seemed he would never stop. I remember gripping my dress in tiny fingers as tightly wound as they could be pressed. I stood alone outside the circle—nary a piece of candy did I venture to catch. All I could hope for (if I could not melt into the baseboards) was for it to cease. I stood there frozen, feeling I was the smallest, most unlovable, worst, and the most unworthy human of all—now shown to all the present company. Being as this was who I was told I was on a daily basis, how I could now suddenly covet something so precious that was wanted by all the other children. How could I—the unworthy—be so bold to take something that could not possibly belong to someone like me. No, it could not be done. It would not be done. Just let it be over.
Being Santa—and of course—being the good Santa, he continuously seemed to be throwing the candy closer and closer to me. I began to sweat as the pieces appeared to have feet and seemed to be walking right up to me. At first the children hesitated; but when they saw I could not move and did not move, they gingerly picked the candy up.
Finally, the last cruel blow was struck and a large Hershey bar (so much bigger than all the lucrative peppermints) landed, just barely touching the tip of my shoe. Still paralyzed for a long moment, all was quiet as everyone stopped to see if I would pick up the chocolate bar. Of course, I knew what they didn’t (that there was no possibility of that). Finally, after what seemed like two Christmases past, a little sweet faced boy gently removed the demon item from my feet, and the Christmas party ended.
It’s funny because before that time, I don’t recall if I had a yen for that creamy brown sugary substance. But as kids go, I probably assume that maybe I did. Now, it brings me great thanks because when clients or people that don’t know me bring me gifts of Godiva or the like, I happily disperse these goodies to the staff or the grateful hand of a friend.
It took the climbing of the Babylon Gardens to crawl out from under the child caught in that body, but eventually I did or at least I think I did. Still, there are moments when I am not sure. When I am overly altruistic (if I respond that way), could it mean there is still inside me that girl who believes herself so unworthy (as if something of value belongs only to others). After much analyzing and debate, the only thing I really know for sure is—I don’t like chocolate.