I still remember throwing that plastic baby doll through the half open window onto the back seat of my dad’s car. Actually, it seems like only yesterday. It was a day in my life that I could honestly say I did the most brazen thing of my childhood. I committed a theft! It wasn’t one of those accidental thefts, it was premeditated.
It started when I saw this particular baby doll amid the other doll displays at the TG&Y. It was a rubber plastic baby doll, wearing only a diaper, and a plastic bottle rubber banded around it’s wrist. It had a cute little pink mouth, matching painted checks, blue eyes, and long black eyelashes. I had to have it, but my mother thought otherwise. According to my mother, I already had enough dolls that were much nicer.
At the age of 5, I already had feelings of entitlement. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have it. My sister had one, and she never let me play with it. Because of this, I thought I should have one, and I was going to make it happen, even if I had to commit a crime to get it. I knew what I was going to do was wrong, but I did it anyway. As soon as I saw I was alone in the toy department, I reached for the doll, and tucked it away inside my sweater. I remember walking swiftly down the aisles towards the front entrance. I was nervous, and afraid, but there was no turning back. I avoided all eye contact. I quickly walked past the cashier, and I was out the front door , and on my way towards the car. I remember looking both ways before grabbing for the doll under my sweater, and tossing it through the window, miraculously unnoticed by my father who was sitting in the front seat.
I don’t remember whether I waited there with my dad and stolen “baby”, or if I went back into the store. The store sold fabric, and my mother had a tendency of spending way too much time shopping for zippers, or buttons or mounds of polyester. I only remember how my cover was blown on the way home. My mother looked at me sitting in the backseat with the doll, and burst out shouting in Portuguese and broken English how I must have stolen that doll I was holding. Silence had been broken, and the car was full of mad hysteria! My mother was upset, and my father was even more upset with me. I was guilt stricken. I knew what I did was wrong, but at that moment the instant gratification of having something I truly wanted was fulfilled. Although my father had threatened to drive back to the TG&Y for my confession to this crime, he never did. However, by the time I got home, I honestly didn’t really want the doll anymore.
I never really played with the doll, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t like playing with it. It just brought back anxiety and the guilt of that day. Each time I entered the TG&Y I wondered if anyone had seen my crime. I thought everyone knew, and one day I’d be taken to jail, although it never stopped me from going back to the doll section, or the paper doll section of the store. However, I was never tempted to steal again. I was living with enough guilt.
It is almost amazing that I still remember this particular incident, and to this day, I never stole anything from a store again, intentionally. Okay, there was that time as a teen that I was looking at belts, and accidently walked out of a store holding one, and there was that one time I was looking at earrings with my daughter, and noticed that one pair of hoops was hanging on the button of my shirt when I got into my car, and let me not forget the one afternoon, I was walking my cart in the parking lot at Target, when I realized that the cashier forgot to ring up that box of dishes that I found on clearance...but other than that…ooh, and the boob tape I was holding for my cousin for her wedding dress. Oops. Okay, I may be a criminal. I confess….