Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm sorry, Meg Ranous

When I was seven years old I stole a wallet from Meg Ranous. She was the younger sister of my friend Molly and I used to go over to their house everyday after school. They had Nintendo and were allowed to eat junk food and lived right down the street from me on Sagamore Drive. Meg was two years younger than Molly and I and we used to torment her on a fairly regular basis. On this particular day we had finished our ritual ice cream sundaes and had just started playing blind man's bluff, a marco/polo kind of game favored by upstate New York girls . I was hiding in Meg's closet when this fancy little Care Bears wallet caught my eye. It was bright yellow corduroy and had all the Care Bears stiched on to it--Cheer Bear with his rainbow stomach, Good Luck Bear with his four leaf clover, Harmony Bear in a beautiful shade of lavender...I wanted this wallet of furry friends like I'd never wanted anything before. The fact that there was four dollars inside the wallet only made it more attractive to me and before I knew it my hot little hand had grabbed it from the shelf and shoved it into my sock. I left the closet and ended the game, wanting to get out of the house before anyone notice the awkward bulge around my ankle. When I got to my house I ran upstairs to my room, so excited to examine my new prized possession in the light. I closed the door and pulled the wallet out of my sock and rubbed my fingers across the fuzzy little bears. I think I probably even hugged it to my chest and did a little dance (something I still do today when I get a new prized possession). I counted the money again and thought about the candy I'd be able to get with this small fortune--visions of the bulk food section of Wegmans filled my head. Then unexpectedly, sometime around dinner, I started to feel guilty. I thought of little Meg going to her closet and searching for her wallet and not finding it where she knew she had left it. As the night wore on, I started to get almost panicked thinking about the terrible thing I had done. As I lay in bed with the wallet hidden under my pillow, I resolved to get rid of it. Maybe I would throw it in some bushes on the way to school, maybe I'd bury it in the backyard, maybe I even try to return it the next time I went to the Ranous house. That night I slid the wallet behind the radiator in my room, thinking it was a good hiding spot until I figured out how to get rid of the evidence of my transgression. Eleven years later as I cleaned my room in preparation for leaving for college I found the wallet, still in the same space behind the radiator, still with four dollars in it. I took out the money and threw the wallet into a garbage bag along with hundreds of other trinkets from my childhood that had lost their value to me. I never told anyone about that wallet, but I still think about Meg Ranous often and feel guilty for having stolen from her. I'm sorry, Meg.