You don’t think about bad news right away when you see that golden spongy log in cellophane by your dinner plate. You don’t question the oddity or take any special note of the fact that we don’t eat Twinkies for dinner. Your desire for the Twinkie distracts you from that. Everything seems normal while you sit with your parents and two sisters and eat roast beef, potatoes, and green beans with a big glass of milk. You wait for that moment when you will break open the dewy cake and lick out the white cream. You don’t question your good luck, but after you rip the crinkly wrapper and feel the springy sweetness in your mouth, you see your parents looking at you with a regretful stare.
This is the moment they have chosen to tell you the news: “We’re going to move again.” Your appetite for the Twinkie is gone while the first bite is still in your mouth. You feel nauseous. Even though you’re 14 years old, and you shouldn’t care about things like Twinkies, they thought they could trick you like you were a little kid, like the Twinkie is a cushion for the news. You put the Twinkie down and ask, “Where are we moving and when?” The conversation is brief, because there is not much to say when you are not in charge of your own life. It is useless to complain or question. It is futile to begin worrying about the first day as a new kid, knowing no one, wishing to be invisible, because it is preferable to being singled out and mocked for your clothes or gawkiness or just being the weak one in the herd. You walk to your room to read or stare at the ceiling while your mother cleans up the kitchen, and the Twinkie ends up in the trash.
Tracy Binius has a BA in English literature from St. Olaf College and an MD from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She is a practicing psychiatrist, an amateur writer and a world traveller.