Shaggy Hair Boy had a birthday last week, and as a present, my mother brought him an apple pie. My mother makes delicious pies, not deadly sweet like the ones they serve in diners. She uses real apples, not canned filling, with a crust that is so good it tastes great all by itself. The pie was still warm when she got here, and I could smell the apples and cinnamon as she walked in the door.
My mother told Shaggy Boy that the pie was a birthday present, and he didn't have to share it with anyone.
That pie was the highlight of Shaggy Boy's week. He'd wait until he had an audience of hungry people, make himself a hot cup of cocoa, cut himself a slice of pie, and then sit down to eat it in front of everyone, bragging about how good it tasted. We've all had my mother's pies so we knew he was not exaggerating. Whenever I could catch a glimpse of his freckled face under the wild locks of curly hair, I could see that he was enjoying himself immensely.
I completely understood Shaggy Hair's need to gloat. He's the third child in the family. He will never have his own room, his clothes are always hand-me-downs, and he lives in the shadow of his ridiculously over-achieving older siblings. I'm the third child in my family so I know what is like to never have anything to call your own.
But damn! That pie looked good. And he stretched it out over several days. It was torture for me. And today, home reading student papers, I was still thinking about it ....