She stole everything from candy and cookies to shampoo and Pokemon Cards.
Lizzy had been influenced by her notorious classmates to steal things she couldn’t afford. It seemed like a good idea to her at first. When the craze of collecting Pokemon cards was in the air, she needed to do something to “feel” the craze. She walked to the local pharmacy store one day to get a prescription refill for her grandmother. The pharmacy also happened to sell snacks, various toys, and knick knacks. While she waited to collect her grandmother’s prescription refill, she walked around the different isles and saw a small pack of Pokemon cards. It was $4. That was expensive for a small pack containing 10 cards. She grabbed it and put it in her coat pocket spontaneously without thinking twice. She feared someone might catch her, but to her luck she was safe.
This was the first time she actually stole something from a store. She had never had to steal in her life before. As long as her grandfather was alive, she got everything she had wanted. If she dreamt of a doll, it would be in her room the very next day sitting on her bed. If she asked for a new pencil case and was shy to ask, her grandfather would read her mind and get it for her as a surprise. Lizzy couldn’t forget the time when she and her grandfather were sitting outside on the porch on a sunny afternoon and the ice cream man came. She was too shy to ask for ice cream and just kept staring at the other kids whose parents had given them money to buy ice cream. Lizzy’s grandfather could sense what his granddaughter was feeling and said, “I can feel someone craving ice cream…why don’t we go and have some too?”
It had been 3 years since grandpa had passed away, and because he was the only father figure Lizzy ever had it was very difficult to get over his passing. He was everything to her – from a friend to a parent to a teacher and doting grandfather. Lizzy felt she had the world when she was with her grandfather. That’s how close they both were. Now it was just her, her mom, and grandma. Her mom, Anna, took care of of grandma and Lizzy single-handedly while struggling to keep her job. She could barely hold a job for so long that she wasn’t financially stable enough to support her family. To top it off, she was pregnant with another child, Lizzy’s soon-to-be-born brother. Lizzy’s step-father was an alcoholic and barely cared for either of them. He was never home, and after Anna became pregnant he left without notice.
Lizzy began getting depressed by the day. The love of her mother was fading too. Everyday she’d come back from school to the same monotonous life with lots of complains. Of course, Anna was going to have a new baby boy and Lizzy was going to be forgotten about. He would be getting more love and no matter how much Anna tried convincing her daughter that she’d love her just the same…it didn’t happen. Lizzy tried to cherish the last of the few months she had Anna all to herself before she had to share her with a new baby in the family. She wanted a sibling badly when she was around 5 or 6, but now she was 12. She was about to become a teenager and desperately needed her mom’s attention. She had a hard time forgiving her mom for doing this to her because she couldn’t bombard her with problems she was facing in school anymore.
The day when she stole her first pack of Pokemon cards from the pharmacy, there was a big rush of relief that swept her. Holding onto the pack of cards was like holding onto hope; something that made her feel secure. It was something she really wanted, so it was equal to security for her. She didn’t have to depend on her mother for anything as long as she could learn to steal effectively. The could have whatever she wanted without having to request her mother who’d end up saying “no” anyway. While Anna was busy bonding with her new baby, Lizzy had her cards, accessories, new stationary for school, cookies, candy, and other knick knacks she began stealing as days went on. These items were comforting to her. She could play with them and the feeling of owning something her mother couldn’t afford to buy her was glorious.
The hormonal fluctuations began affecting her. One morning Lizzy woke up to find a few pimples on her face. It was so embarrassing. She asked her mom to buy her a product she found online. It had so many legit testimonials that convinced Lizzy to buy it. Of course, Anna’s response was negative. “Stop using chemicals on your face. Try something organic like turmeric or rice flour…it’ll heal”
For once Lizzy stayed calm and tried her mother’s advice. On the contrary, all this stuff made her skin more oily and more pimples started exploding on her face. Her beautiful face was beginning to scar only because of Anna’s negligence. Lizzy’s self confidence was plummeting. She would cry silent tears at night, sitting alone in her room hearing the baby crying which was followed by silence; of course he was sucking milk out of Anna’s breasts. She was reminded of how Anna never breastfed her past 2 months, yet she was going to nurse Charlie up to a year. Anna happened to have accidentally let it out one day when she was talking with Lizzy about babies, educating her about how they’re born and what happens afterwards. She had told Lizzy that she had only nursed her daughter for 2 months and now she was going to nurse Charlie up to a year. What could this possibly mean? It would just mean that Anna would bond with Charlie more than she did with Lizzy. Of course how was Lizzy supposed to feel? She felt neglected and abandoned. She didn’t bond with her mother as much for this very reason.
Lizzy had had enough. She couldn’t bear to go to school every morning trying to hide her pimples with some random concealer she stole that didn’t even match her skin tone. People could tell she was trying to hide the flaws on her skin. What was the point of a concealer anyway if she couldn’t use it effectively. She didn’t know the ABCs of putting make up on. She had to buy that skin care product she saw online. She walked into her mother’s room one night and quietly reached for her purse. She took out her credit card out of the purse and rushed back to her room as quietly as she could without waking anyone up. With the click of a finger she ordered it! She was the one to collect mail everyday, so she would be able pick it up on her way from school and her mom wouldn’t even know. She was so excited to try it on once it arrived. Within a few days, her face began to clear up. Anna wondered what her daughter was up to; how come her face began improving so quickly.
A month later the credit card statement came and Anna found out about Lizzy’s online venture. The trust between them was going down. Anna felt her daughter was doing things behind her back and she wasn’t knowing anything. Their relationship wasn’t like before; since Anna became pregnant. Anna went through Lizzy’s things one day while she was in school. When Lizzy came home, there was a battle about to begin.
“Where did you get all this stuff?” Anna had dumped all of the stolen goodies from Lizzy’s cupboard.
Lizzy shrugged and bothered to not answer.
“I REPEAT MYSELF. WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THESE THINGS?”
“…My friends. We share things with each other…”
“Oh really? I didn’t know you had such generous friends! How come we never discussed?” Of course Anna was being sarcastic.
“Please mom leave me alone. I don’t want to talk.”
“Don’t you dare try to avoid the conversation when I’m trying to talk to you.”
“You finally found the time to talk to me when all these months I’ve been wanting to talk to you about so many things in school or life in general? You barely notice me since Charlie came. Mom, why didn’t you nurse me for longer than 2 months? Do you even realize how that makes me feel? The whole idea that Charlie is going to get something precious that I didn’t is making me distant from you. You are the only person I held onto after grandpa passed away and you decided to marry a strange man who called himself my step-father. I feel rejected. I don’t feel like your daughter anymore. I thought you loved me the most in this world.”
Anna was lost for words. She kept quiet and attended to Charlie who was screaming from the other room. Nothing could change now. Life had to move on. Anna forgot to express her love for Lizzy. They grew more distant as days passed on and Lizzy continued to steal and remained happy in her own world.