That year he started wearing bellbottom jeans and open shirts like David Cassidy and this little red-headed mean girl named Marla started following us around on the playground and twirling her big fat red ponytail at him while laughing at something he did. Meanwhile, my stomach kept growing because now I was coming home and cooking in secret on my Easy Bake Oven at night while my sisters slept. I would plug the oven in on the outside of my bedroom closet door, and then I would turn it on and watch as the conveyor very slowly pushed through chocolate bars on graham crackers and marshmallows, melting them as they went along. I did this in secret many nights for the whole fifth-grade year. Every time my stomach felt hollow from the ache for my old Brucie, I would fill it with melted chocolate and marshmallow. This pang that I know now starts early and stays with us all our lives. Aching for something or someone other than what we have. And only filling that ache with things that are usually not good for us but at the moment make us feel good.
Wanting to be loved is disastrous for your mid-section, especially if you love your Easy Bake Oven. When my parents divorced at the end of fifth grade, my Easy Bake Oven was so worn out that my Mom put it out into the trash — stained brown from overbaking to fill the pit in my stomach that is still there today.
When my daughter was in third grade, she asked me for an Easy Bake Oven. She really wanted one badly, and I just couldn’t buy it for her. But 10 years late,r when I divorced my husband, the first thing bought for myself was the new and improved Easy Bake Oven. I haven’t opened the box yet, but I take comfort in knowing it sits in my closet with a brand new bulb ready to go. My plan is to teach my son how to use it.