Dad started his war on sugar the year he turned 40. My mom has type-two diabetes and when our doctor said that I was at risk, he started reading up on it.
He promptly declared the house to be a sugar-free zone.
What he didn’t know was that I still spent all my allowance at the convenience store beside my school each morning, saving all my treats for lunch.
I submitted to the bag checks after school, smugly aware that I had disposed of the wrappers before even getting on the school bus.
The year after he declared he would no longer eat sugar, he decided that we wouldn’t give out candy at Halloween either.
I had already agreed to a limited route of trick-or-treating but this I had a problem with.
If my friends and classmates knew my parents were the type to give out boxes of raisins at Halloween, my social status would plummet.
Four days before Halloween, I set out my limits.
“If you don’t give out proper candy this year then I will be very angry.”
He looked up from where he was unlacing his sneakers. He had just come back from a run and my four-foot-something figure seemed to tower over him in rage.
I scoffed, “Don’t dissect me,” I spit.
He shrugged, unperturbed by my tone, “I will not stand by and feed into the sugar industry.”
“It isn’t your choice to make for others.”
“But it is,” he replied, straightening to his full six feet, “It’s on my dollar when it comes to paying for public healthcare.”
I planted my hands on my hips, face ablaze with red hot anger, “I will not allow you to ruin my reputation at school. I will not be branded the raisin-box-boy.” (My voice cracked at the word box.
My father looked down at me, “No one will call you that. Its one night where I protest the effects of sugar. Just let me have this and we can ignore the two days of school-yard teasing together.
“HOW many years has it been since you were in school? You do not know what it is like,” I shook a fist in his face.
His own expression began to colour red, “We are handing out raisins and that is final!”
I yelled in frustration. It felt good just to scream out all my frustration and sugar withdrawal.
“Go to your room!” he screeched.
Continuing to yell and flail my arms, I stomped up the stairs, slammed my door open, and flung myself on my bed. Thirty minutes of tears later, my mother stepped into the room.
She was a large woman, a fact that did not fly over any of our heads.
“Its okay,” she said, “I come in peace.”
“I don’t get it,” I replied, skipping over the pleasantries. We both knew who had sent her.
“Sugar has been a heavily addictive substance in my life, you know.”
I propped my head on my hands and looked up at her with wide eyes, “I do. But I just wish dad gave me that choice.”
She patted my leg, “When you’re young it isn’t your choice. You are the responsibility of your parents and they can only do what is best for you. Later on you can forge your own path.
Just don’t get stuck in one pattern before exploring all the others.”
I buried my face in my pillow. She made some good points and I didn’t like it.
“Okay,” I said.
We handed out the raisin boxes at Halloween. I got to trick-or-treat up and down our street but no farther.
My best treat was a full sized Mars bar which I wolfed down the following day at lunch. I stopped buying as many chocolates at the convenience store. I’m still a sucker for lollipops though.