Two Penny Candy
Let's give others grace and time.
There was a small family-owned grocery just up the hill from where we lived. Mom would send me up for a loaf of bread. It was a rite of passage--permission to ride my bike up out of her sight and to the little shop.
A loaf of bread was cheaper then. A dollar would buy it and still make change. Candies were also inexpensive. A dime for a candy bar. A penny or two for a jawbreaker.
I don't know what possessed me.
Maybe it was Mom's rule to bring back the change. Perhaps it was a moment of temporary insanity. Whatever, I did the inexcusable. When the store owner turned her back, I put a piece of candy in my pocket without paying for it.
She bagged the bread and handed me the change. I raced from the store.
That moment haunted me for 12 years. When I'd see the storeowner's son at school, I'd turn and walk the other way.
I never went back to the store.
I never ate the candy. It ate at me. Forever.
My family moved across town shortly after the event, but I went back to the little store before leaving for college. I saw the owner, Mrs. Winston.
Without a word, I handed her a $10 bill. But before I could start my apology, she rang up a $.02 sale.
She gave me $9.98 in change and said, "I knew you'd be back, Timmy."