Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series warning against the dangers of peer pressure. It’s not pretty.
They say the summer months are the sweetest. They also say that the end of summer can be the most bitter time of the year.
I agree wholeheartedly. With both these statements, actually. As parents, teachers and students across the country return (some reluctantly) to the harried pace of non-summer life in the coming weeks, they’ll most likely miss long walks on the beach, roasting marshmallows by the campfire and waking up leisurely and refreshed every morning.
I’ll naturally be one of them. And while others may carry photos or small seashells to remember the thrills of their summer adventures, I myself could quite conceivably carry a bit more weight with me – literally – into Indian summer and perhaps well into the time when the golden leaves of autumn begin to fall.
Let me be clear about one thing, though: I wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t believe me? Allow me to explain, in excruciatingly painful detail. Nothing – and no one – shall be spared. There comes a time when the truth must be spoken – or in this case, written. I have no shame in this. None.
As I said, my summer started out sweet – very sweet. You see, I’ve always been a sweets kind of girl, and I speak in the most literal sense here. It just comes naturally (though sometimes artificially flavored), and there wasn’t a thing I could do to stop its powerful allure. I found its relentlessness irresistible, its potency intoxicating and its promise of good times, well, promising. Some people suffer from an overdeveloped Superego (read: my mother). I, on the other hand, suffer from an overdeveloped sweet tooth.
And for some reason I can’t deduce, the summer months bring my sweet tooth out of its winter hibernation and into the glorious light – the light of the freezer, the light of a deep-fat fryer, the light of a glowing oven.
Donuts. Ice cream. Pie. Cream pies. Cookies. Cake. Ice cream cake. Shakes. Rootbeer floats.
There are even some scandalous photos floating around out there of me, a large spoon and half a carton of vanilla frosting. I credit that as my crowning moment. And that was actually in the dead of winter. Think of all the damage I could do this summer.
And damage I did. It was that bad, or so I was led to believe.
June began. Every few days, my mother would bring home a new treat. It was better than Christmas, sweeter than Easter and it put those Valentine’s Day conversation hearts to shame; it reduced them to mere tastes-like-cardboard status. The death knell in the sweets world.
“What do we have today?” I’d ask. My mouth would already be watering, practically a Pavlovian salivation. Sometimes the goods came in bags, other times in cartons. And if she was feeling particularly productive that say, the goods came freshly made from our very own oven.
Before long, things began to move at a rapid pass. Honestly, I didn’t have much time to think about my actions, what I was doing or the future consequences. Or maybe I just didn’t really care when I was “in the moment”? Either way, I soon found myself counting down the hours, then the minutes and eventually the seconds until that first, one-of-a-kind bite. I loved, relished and remained in awe of every minute of it. Until, one day, it was gone.