“These are my favorite cookies!” she said. “They’re Entenmann’s, right?”
In that moment, I had a choice. The first of many.
Save my face. Or save my ass.
I didn’t have time to bake my usual chocolate chip cookies for the potluck. My gooey, chunky cookies always garnered accolades from my fellow gymnastics team members. I prided myself on those cookies almost as much as I did my back handsprings, two things in high school I knew I did well.
I bought a box of Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies, the distinctive bite-sized ones, put them on a decorative plate and brought them and my shame to the party.
I made a choice. My face.
“They’re not Entenmann’s,” I lied. “I made them. Yesterday.”
We stared at each other over the buffet laden with homemade goodies.
“Really?” said my teammate. “They taste and look exactly like Entenmann’s.”
Eyes now glued to the plate of frosted brownies between us, I chose again. Face.
“Do they?” I asked, fear dancing in my belly. “My mom found the recipe in a magazine, and I used it to make these cookies. I thought I’d try something new instead of my usual cookies. I didn’t know they’d taste like Entenmann’s!”
I looked up quickly to gauge my lie’s impact, unsure if I would ever stop talking.
Silence. She spoke first. A weak choice.
“These taste exactly like Entenmann’s. I want your mom’s recipe.”
I busied myself straightening the cookies on the plastic, flower-etched plate; popped one in my mouth to buy extra time and sugar-infused stamina.
“They do taste a little like Entenmann’s. Not exactly, but they’re close. I think I like my usual recipe better,” I offered.
Her eyes never left mine. “I have to have the recipe. Everyone’s going to want it.”
“I’m not sure I have it anymore,” I answered. “It was my mom’s recipe, and I don’t know if she kept it.”
My teammate never hesitated, “I’m sure she still has it. You used the recipe yesterday, right?”
My throat felt hot and prickly; the fifth cookie I swallowed no salve for my terror. “Right. Sure. I’ll ask my mom for it.”
Once home, I baked and inhaled a batch of cookies to soothe my shame. Momentarily sated, I weighed my options.
- Make up a recipe and pass it off as magazine version
- Convince my mom I was sick (does a sugar-induced coma count?) and stay home from school for a few weeks
- Avoid my teammate for the rest of school year
- Blame my mom for throwing out recipe
Sadly, I never considered changing schools or feigning a terminal brain malady. Or asking for help.
“Did you bring the recipe?” she asked.
My choice, repeated daily until I wore her down, “Oh, I forgot. I’ll bring it tomorrow.”
Lisa, if you’re reading, I hope you believe in the adage “better late than never.” I am sorry.
And yes, my ass feels better.