The Fix

fruity.gifLuisa generally picks up Zeca from day care but, when Luisa was in Mozambique in May, I was in charge of both drop off and pick up. On the first afternoon that I picked her up I brought her a bag of Fruit Snacks. I know that these supposed “fruit” snacks are no closer to actual fruit than Velveeta is to actual cheese but I was a desperate woman. I wanted a little something that might ease the transition from day care to the car. Given that Luisa was gone and Zeca’s routine was disrupted, I knew there was a high likelihood of hysterics, so, I bought the bag of corn syrup and chemicals pressed into fruit-like shapes and I tucked it into my pocket as an offering for my youngest child. The little surprise worked so well that I bought another bag the next day. One day turned into every day.  Then, she began to demand them upon my arrival at day care. I would approach her on the playground and she would get very close to me, looking around for witnesses rather than making eye contact, and ask in a low voice, “You got da fruit snacks?” With those words, she sealed my fate as her dealer and I was reliable in delivering the goods. As the days passed, I became concerned about her fruit snack abuse so before going in to get her, I started pouring half of the bag into a separate container that I hid in the glove compartment. She would get in the car, demand the treats and say firmly, “I want da WHOLE bag” - not even 2 year olds like it when their dealer shorts them. Well, I am a weak, weak woman and I would reach into the glove compartment and give her the rest. I am not proud, believe me, I knew what I was doing was wrong. I was just trying to survive. Eventually Luisa returned from Mozambique and resumed her pick up duties and Zeca never asked Luisa for fruit snacks and never mentioned them again.   Then, yesterday, we had to switch around drop off and pick up because of a change in Miguel’s schedule. I went to pick up Zeca. I walked up to her on the playground and she looked at me askance and said, “You got da fruit snacks?” It had been 3 months since her last fix and she had clearly been biding her time.