His name is not actually Michael Chapstick. I just don’t think it wise to use the actual names of people who don’t know you’re writing about them.
And especially for this story, I wanted the person to be hidden.
I had been a kleptomaniac for a few years by then. It started in preschool, when I discovered that they had two LEGO horses, and I had none. So I took one and really enjoyed having it at home to play with.
After that, I took small things that I though were cool, pretty much all from my preschool, like a small yellow playhouse ladder, and a playmobile car tire. Things that I needed.
I never took anything from shops; I did have some self control to know that if I took something in front of my parents, or from a store, I would probably get caught, and would end up in trouble.
But I was in to stealing, and it carried on for a while.
So a few years later, in second grade, when my desk mate, Michael Chapstick, was sitting next to me after Christmas break with the coolest Christmas watch, I needed to have it.
It was actually the coolest watch I had ever seen. It played videos. You press the center button, and a pixelated cartoon would play, a new one each time.
I asked Michael how much it cost.
“One hundred dollars. My mom got it for me for Christmas”
The whole morning we kept pressing that center button, watching the cartoons. With each new video, my need for that watch grew and grew.
And that’s when Michael washed his hands, and got his watch wet, and needed to hang it up in the back of the room where the backpacks are stored, so it could dry.
After he sat back down, I went back to the backpacks, and took the watch.
And then right after that, as if checking a trap he had set, Michael got up to go check on his watch. He came back from the racks and exclaimed to the class that someone had stolen his Christmas watch.
Our teacher went back with him to see the evidence, that there was indeed no watch back there, and then asked if anyone had seen it.
I stayed still, silent. The watch was in my pocket.
If I could just get through this, I could have it.
And when no one spoke, our teacher turned back to the boy.
“Well Michael, you shouldn’t have hung it up back there. It was bound to get lost or stolen.”
And that was it.
Michael came back to his seat, right next to me, and that’s all I remember. He might have questioned me, but all I know is that when I got home, I had the Christmas watch.
Later that night, I was taking bath, and my mom was going through my dirty clothes. And in my pants from that day, she found a watch.
“Sami, where did you get this?”
I froze just as I had in class. But this time I had to respond.
“Daddy gave it to me. From his last business trip”
*Perfect* I thought. Plus, Dad was gone on another business trip, and couldn’t dispute it.
My older sister saw the watch in Mom’s hand, and said it was hers!
I was stunned.
She was even worse than me!
“No! Dad gave it to me!” I shot back.
There was a small argument over it, and eventually mom didn’t care about where the watch came from, and she just let me have it.
Hallelujah! I finally, finally had the watch!
But what guilt I was ridden with, after I finally, finally had what I wanted.
The day I stole Michael Chapstick’s Christmas watch, I hid it in my cubby, never to use or look at again. I couldn’t bring it to school, because I sat right next to Michael. I couldn’t play with it at home, because my sister might try and take it again, or Mom might see it, and ask Dad about it.
Plus, I felt so guilty for taking the watch of my friend, who let me watch the cartoons with him all morning before I took this thing that he got for Christmas, that had cost a lot of money.
That guilt followed me for a long time, and sometimes still does. I thought about placing it on his doorstep and running away (because guess what else he only lived 3 doors down from meee!!!!) but that scared me too much, and in the end I just threw it away.
So, Michael Chapstick, I am very sorry that I stole your Christmas watch. That was the last time I ever stole anything from anyone, so while it was a bad thing to do, you taught me a valuable lesson.
And gave me a great story that my sisters looooove to hear.