My First Real Crime String, Summer of ’98

In the summer between third and fourth grades, I stole bras from my best friend while having a sleepover at her grandmother’s house. I acknowledge that this was an insane thing to do.  And to set the record straight, I never wore any of them, because that’s gross. Just bear with me.

So, I stole these bras. Which, retrospectively, at the age of eight I had no business wanting bras. And she had no business owning them. And as far as why I stole them, I think it had something to do with clitoris envy or a nipple complex or whatever syndrome it is that forces girl children to do insane things like steal their friend’s undergarments.

I was a pretty bad thief. Probably because I was 1) eight years old and 2) obviously not in my right mind to pull of a flawless heist, or I would have targeted something like her grandmother’s jewelry box. Anyhow, when I got home from the sleepover I showed my mom my “new” bras to see if she approved. She was a little confused, since I was eight and didn’t do much lingerie shopping on my own yet, and asked where exactly I got them. I told her my friend gave them to me, which raised an eyebrow but seemed passable as an explanation to her, I guess. Anyway, she didn’t seem bothered by the bras.

A couple of day later, the worst possible situation occurred, in which my status as crook was uncovered. The boy who I had a crush on just happened to be the cousin of the girl whose underwear drawer I raided, and he just happened to skateboard in my neighborhood with all of his way-cool friends, and I just happened to be sitting on the roof of my porch listening to music and watching them skateboard– which is completely normal– when he yelled, in front of a gaggle of cute boys and all of my neighbors and the mailman–

“HEY HANNAH EMERALD SAID YOU STOLE HER BRAS!”

I’m surprised the skin on my face didn’t melt off in the heat of that humiliation. In true eight-year-old-girl form, rather than defend myself or hazard an explanation (lie), I started crying and crawled back through the window into my house.

So, of course, my mom found out and demanded I return the stolen undergarments to my friend immediately. She also suggest I write a letter of apology, which I did, and it was very heartfelt and sincere and only slightly crazy sounding. But really, how does one make a graceful recovery from bra-boosting?

I don’t think there has been a more humbling moment in my life than the day my mom drove me to Emerald’s house and, ignoring my teary-eyed pleas that she accompany me (I might have made that part up for dramatic emphasis, I don’t actually remember whether or not my mom walked to the door with me), had me march up to the door and return the brown paper bag full of bras that weren’t mine and a handwritten “I’m sorry I stole your shit” apology letter.

In case you were curious, Emerald and I have not been friends since the summer between third and fourth grades.

I learned a decent amount from my whirlwind four-day adventure living a life of crime. First, watching the neighborhood boys play from the roof of your house is never a good idea and will only result in you being targeted as a weirdo– whether or not you steal unmentionables from their cousins. Also, lying never feels very good, and coming clean usually feels a little worse, but the latter eventually fades into peace of mind, while the former will only heighten your paranoia with time.

And finally, I learned that I am absolutely imperfect. Which is a mighty cliche. But no, I am by no means anywhere near perfection. Not only do I steal bras, but I also speak with a lisp, my handwriting is atrocious, and I have Crohn’s disease. See? Damaged goods.

I have recently been suffering from tenacious nightmares. This is a serious flaw. In every one of them, someone I love is either being killed, already dead, or getting taken away from me by some wicked injustice over which I have no control. I know that this has a great deal to do with everything that has happened in my life in the past two weeks, into which I will not delve right now because, let’s be honest, if I told you everything there’d be no more mystique behind this whole blogging business.

But I would say that disturbed sleep may be the most perfect imperfection, since from it stems all other failures. Tiredness= stupidity. And it’s unattractive, too.

I have been told that a sudden onslaught of trepidation in your dreams means that positive change is about to happen in your life. I hope so.

I have also been told that masturbation can make hair grow on your palms. Each of these is as untrue as the other, but one is more fun to believe in.

In my nightmares, I have no power over the terrible. I can not put the bras in a lunch bad and write a cute note. But in the real world, when bad things happen to or because of me, it is a chance to become a better version of myself.

Or, not.

3 thoughts on “My First Real Crime String, Summer of ’98

  1. You’re a fabulouse writer. I still enjoy reading what you have to write. I hope that I have the honor of reading these brilliant pieces for a long time. Love you always.

    Knock them dead in California. You better be a famouse writer. Even though you don’t need it… Break a leg sweetie.

    Love always from you know who.

  2. I’ll send you a list of stuff I need but can’t afford, like a Pasquini Livia 90 Espresso Machine. It might not fit in your purse, but in you I trust.

  3. your memory and wit are sharper with every addition to your blog…I too love reading what you write dear one!

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