Today we’re going to discuss the worst betrayal of my life: the Cookie Incident of 2015.
Last year, my family found ourselves at a distant relative’s graduation party. Why we have to make an appearance at a graduation party for a relative so distant you need a map to determine your relation is beyond me, but maybe if I ever get to a point in my life where I enjoy small talk, I’ll understand.
So, there we were. It was mid-summer, probably the beginning of July, so naturally the gathering was held in a tent in someone’s backyard. The sun was overhead (it was approximately 2:13 PM by my calculations of the sun), the grass was yellowy and dry (yet abundant with loose grass clippings, as if they had recently mowed it for the first time in three weeks), and the tent awning was trapping all heat within it (all the better when combined with how atrociously humid it was).
My father, my brother, and I were sitting at a picnic table within the tent while my mother was off fraternizing with unknown “relatives.” The three of us were trying to reconstruct our alleged relationship to Sheila? Jane? Renee? Well whoever’s graduation party it was, we were huddling over several napkins placed together to solve the puzzle, in a manner analogous with how the founding fathers may have frowned over the Constitution when penning it. Actually it was the exact same. We were all wearing white wigs.
It was about that point that we noticed Grandpa filling a plate with cookies from the dessert table, which was the cue that we could acceptably help ourselves to dessert. By rule, if an old person is indulging in the desserts, it means it’s okay for everyone else to take part as well. Old people can do whatever they want, and if Grandpa’s cutting into the cake, no one’s gonna stop him, and I’m sure as hell gonna join him.
Dessert is very sacred to my people (“my people” meaning me). I’m not necessarily a picky eater, but I have whimsical moods towards food– one day I like spaghetti, the next day no way, whatever. But in this wild and tumultuous food world I live in, dessert is the one thing held constant for me: I will always eat chocolate. Chocolate on chocolate on peanut butter on chocolate. Yes. I’m in. I’m committed. Sign me up.
So needless to say, at any event promising free food, I’m there for the dessert. Grandpa’s first in line, I’m second. Then my brother, then my dad. And then my mom is usually pumped too, but she’s more collected about it–at heart, she’s at the front of the line, but in reality she plays it cool and waits with Grandma at the end of the line. I have no such restraint.
We get up there: cookie pressure. We were provided one miniscule plate, yet a world of cookie options. Cruelest form of torture. Sucked for my dad and my brother, but I had an advantage: I had a purse. I guess I’ve become the person who hoards cookies in their purse. I’ll own it.
Buckeyes and chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies and cheesecake balls and a medley of other cookie-types that looked strange and exotic to me. I took one of each.
Back at the table, we dug into our spoils. I started with what I knew I’d like but weren’t absolute favorites. Then I moved on to the questionables that could potentially turn out good. I saved a chocolate chip cookie for last in case I needed to redeem my taste buds.
The classics were good. Our picnic table was silent, except my grandpa sat down with us and was making grunts of approval while chewing. My mom joined us after finally getting her turn at the dessert table.
I made it through the guaranteed goodies and finished a majority of the unknowns. I picked up a particularly colorful character that appeared spongy and perhaps velvet vanilla-y.
My brother, beside me, had just finished eating that colorful morsel of dessert.
“Is it good?” I asked him, holding mine up.
His mouth still slightly full, he nodded, then swallowed.
I immediately, in this horrifically pivotal moment in our brother-sister relationship, popped the rainbow tidbit into my mouth, and took an unforgiving bite.
An unforgiving bite for the ages. It tasted like black and death and stubbed toes and paper cuts and moldy basements and dust and stale feet and betrayal, with a hint of mint. I felt my mouth suppressing a hideous wail and my taste buds putting in their two weeks’ notice. It was a KO, done, count me out, no go, bye.
In reality it just tasted like a dry Christmas cookie– you know, the red and green Christmas tree-shaped cookies that are incredibly tasteless and bland and festive. Not only do I hate Christmas, but I hate those Christmas cookies, so it’s all around bad for me. I never eat them on purpose.
All of this hit me at once, like if you’ve ever been hit with a terribly pungent trash odor or if your body has ever gone into a rigid shock after hearing a sudden loud noise or if someone’s ever complimented you on something you put absolutely no effort into and you thought was pathetically woeful. That kind of immediate overwhelming of your senses.
And in the first second of these awful tastes molesting my tongue, my face dropped all the way down and I shot the most piercing sideways glance at my brother, who was watching me closely, and upon seeing my menacing glare, burst out laughing. He knew. He could tell I was having a bad reaction to this just from the sheer desolation of my face. And he had just consumed it himself, so he really knew it was bad. And advised me to proceed with my own operation of consuming it.
However, his laughter spurred something in me, so I began laughing–in a different, more cynical way. In a “Boy when I finish chewing this you’re gonna have it” way. Like a “You’re in some deep shit with me” kinda laugh. His laugh was merely out of pure joy at the dessert he deceived me to eat.
The laughing didn’t help me finish chewing the damn thing any faster though. I just kept chewing and chewing and chewing the damn disgraceful “dessert.” My mouth felt so dry and I kept working the thing around while stifling laughter and my brother kept laughing harder at me.
My parents noticed the commotion and started asking, “What?” “What?” but my brother just kept giggling away and all I could do was shake my head slowly back and forth as if I was getting ready to WALLOP on somebody who totally had it coming.
“What?” “What?” After five years of chewing the stupid cookie thing, I finally choked it all down and turned to my brother. “BOY,” was all I could say to him. He laughed harder at my pain.
I scarfed down my redemption cookie greedily and tried to explain what had just happened to my parents, but they didn’t at all comprehend the sheer gravity of the situation.
Anyway, my brother’s betrayal stung harshly. I consulted him for dessert advice, and he wronged me. Which is why I no longer trust him, and he haven’t spoken for ten years. RIP.
In any case, I tricked him into eating a fake grape later that day, so maybe in another five years of him consuming fake fruit, we’ll be even.