“I put them in a Pop-tart box and left them on your desk,” she told me over the phone.
I was twenty-one, in my first serious relationship, and relying on my big sister to sneak birth control pills to me. She’s a nurse and was working at an OB/GYN office at the time—where the shelves were always stocked with free samples of Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
Although I had been responsible enough to visit my school’s Health Center for a check-up and b.c. prescription, I was not at all grown up enough to let my mother find out I was finally engaging in youthful debauchery. I was convinced my virginity’s passing would send her into cardiac arrest or some sort of prolonged period of mourning. Therefore, pill delivery had to remain a covert operation.
The pop-tart drop was cutting it close. We were playing with fire. The desk my sister had left the box on was at my parents’ house. In my old bedroom. I had to face my mother to pick it up.
I tried to be nonchalant when I dropped by and gathered my mail and—ohwhatanicesurprise—free pastries from my sis.
She and I were able to continue our secret exchanges for several more months. Then motherly intuition, or perhaps just plain nosiness, kicked in and my mom began to ask questions. Not to me, of course, but to my supplier.
Coming from the same DNA, my sister is just as unskilled at lying as I am. We have a terrible propensity to just blurt out the truth anytime anyone asks us anything.
So when the mothership directed her information-gathering tractor beam at my sis, she immediately crumbled. Not a detail was spared. Thankfully, a second-hand report was enough to satisfy mom. She never confronted me on the subject.
Christmas morning, that same year, we all sat around sipping coffee and orange juice, passing tissue-filled bags and bow-laden boxes in my parents’ living room. “Here, open this one,” my mother said, handing me a package across my grandmother’s lap.
I tore into the paper and at once saw an all too familiar logo. I looked at my mom and she gave a wicked little chuckle.
“What’s that?” grandma asked, picking up my mom’s devilish grin.
“Nothing,” I said, “Mom just knows how much I love Pop-tarts.”