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My Life of Crime

August 30, 2010

In the Creative Writing course, we have several assignments. One of them is a memory flashback called “As a child…” I’m supposed to write a memory flashback from my childhood. I immediately decided what to write about when I read the description. Aaaand today I wrote it, although it’s not due until September 24th. I understand that I might have to change it as I learn, but this is what I have for now:

My Life of Crime

When I was ten years old, I stole for the first time in my life. I was at a school-buddy’s house and we were playing with her dolls. When she went to the bathroom, I snuck this Lego-sized rubber baby-doll into my pocket and took it home. She later accused me of stealing it, but I denied it. She had no proof, so I got away with it. Needless to say, she didn’t invite me back to her house. She wasn’t my best friend, anyway.

That doll was precious to me. It had a tiny little head, tiny limbs and a teensy body. The hair on its head was also rubber, but it still had a stylish “hairdo”. I made it tiny little clothes to wear, I built it a home out of Lego blocks, and I even gave it a holiday home in one of my ceramic Christmas house that’s supposed to hold a candle inside. I’d wrap up tiny little things before Christmas, and then I’d unwrap them before I went to sleep at Christmas Eve, making my doll jump up and down in excitement. It was always the baby in my doll games, but it could also be an adult in other games. In every game I played, this doll had a major role. Of all the dolls I owned, I loved this one the most.

I did other things considered illegal. I broke into a building with a good friend of mine. It was a construction site with locked doors. There was no glass in the windows, so my friend managed to help me climb inside. We’d play in the seven-story high building for hours. Looking down the gaps next to the stairwell had my stomach in a knot, so I would go down the stairs on my bottom, much to my friend’s amusement. As a boy, he wasn’t afraid of heights.

I also broke into a patched-up hut, built by a kid in my neighbourhood. With the same friend-in-crime, we crawled through a hinged-flap on the roof. There were no doors or windows. There was nothing of interest inside but soggy wood and spiders, so it wasn’t as much fun as my friend had made it out to be.

At school, a different friend of mine and I were sometimes allowed to go to a separate room to study. I’d have my crayons in my backpack. She’d ask me to fish them out, and together we’d go to the furnace and melt the crayons on it. By the end of the year, the furnace was very colourful – a piece of art! One day, I was on my way outside when I heard the teacher discover our little secret project. My friend was still inside. I was scared, so I didn’t go back to confess that I had taken a part in the vandalism. I doubted the teacher would let me leave if I told her that it was all my friend’s idea. My friend had to spend the rest of the afternoon scrubbing the wax off the furnace. I got away scot-free.

The break-ins, and single act of vandalism were initiated and encouraged by my friends. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have done any of it. But the doll-theft was my own little act. My own little spontaneous act to obtain something I wanted, no matter the consequences or the hurt feelings of another human being. An act I made to prove to myself that I wasn’t the blonde, longhaired, pink-coated, quiet little girl everyone saw me as. I wasn’t the goody-goody only child, who never caused any trouble. Not really. I was capable of doing bad things just like anyone else! No one needed to know that I had it in me, as long as I knew it.

My life of crime didn’t last. I doubt there’s a straighter arrow two hundred miles away. I have never been stopped by the traffic police, because there’s never been any reason to. I always give back excessive change – even that extra 5000 kr. bill I once got by mistake. I turn in valuable jewellery I find to the lost-and-found desk – even though that pearl ring was absolutely gorgeous. I don’t cut in line. I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. Not even in cards.

But deep down, I know that I once stole a tiny little item, and that memory is precious to me.

Now you have something to distribute to the tabloids if I ever get famous 😛

Edited to add: Of course I feel guilty about stealing the little doll (today, even though I didn’t feel it as a kid – kids do stupid things). I even wish I could go back and undo it, but that’s not possible. Instead I just smile at that single act of rebellion of always being thought of as the good girl.

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