One time, I wanted to carve my name on the bathroom cabinet by the toilet, but I realized I'd be caught if I wrote my name. So I wrote Maddie's name instead. My mom caught me anyway because, duh, Maddie couldn't write yet.
Oh wait, I don't really feel ashamed by that story. In fact, I hardly did then--I just carved my sister Abby's name the next time (and she did get in trouble).
Well one other time, I had the evil temptation to squirt shampoo down Maddie's panties. And I gave in to the temptation. She was red-hot-angry, so I pretended to squirt some in my own panties to cheer her up. She was convinced, and I was...oh wait, not ashamed!
This one time, I cut off half of our cat Spiffy's whiskers because I didn't like how uneven they were. I got in trouble. But surprise! Wouldn't you know, I was not ashamed--I felt quite justified in my reasoning. Who'd want uneven whiskers?
How about this time. I wore Rae's clothes all through 6th grade, even if they didn't fit me, because her clothes were so much cooler than my Lands' End and Winnie the Pooh stuff. Seriously, why was that Pooh shirt even in my closet? I was ashamed of my wardrobe!
But not of taking Rae's clothes. With her amazing 90s collection of outfits, I was well dressed for 6th grade, hence confident and cool.
We're getting closer! Are you having fun?
Here is a sad story. It breaks my heart. Every single time:
Colorado Springs, ca. 1995
I had a "friend" named Bobby Arroyo. He was wild. And I had an inexplicable crush on him, so in order to impress him, I played wild, too. One day we were hogging the tree house and wouldn't let Maddie and Bobby's brother David climb up. We declared a childish war, intent on driving them away at all costs. Bobby threw a yellow plastic Little Tykes chair off the tree house balcony. Harmless, since Maddie and David were a good distance away. Then Bobby got a fire in his eyes and wanted to throw the tree house table down. That table was Maddie's. It was a little round thing, just painted particle board, but she loved it. I told Bobby we shouldn't. He started dragging it to the balcony anyway, and when he told me to help him hoist it over the edge, my balance broke between my loyalty to Maddie and my crush on Bobby.
We tossed the table over the balcony, and when it split in several un-fixable pieces, I saw Maddie's sweet face break into an expression of deep hurt. Her table! Her very own little table! Ruined!
I gasped. The fun had ended long before the table broke, but now the terrible guilt washed in.
I didn't know how to explain myself. I wished I knew why I had chosen Bobby's side over my darling sister's.
I didn't want to play with Bobby anymore. I vanquished my crush on him.
And I felt like I couldn't make it up to Maddie, no matter how sincerely I apologized, because I had no good reason at all for what I had done.
I'm still sorry, Maddie. I'm sorry I broke your table. I know it's all been long enough that we both understand the psychology behind the unkindness. But I felt so ashamed. And I'm still sad that I did that, because I don't think I will ever forget your face when your table broke.