The Christmas Treat
It was my first Christmas in school
and we were getting a treat,
something special,
something nice.
Paper serviettes were handed out
and we placed them on our desks,
our mouths watering in anticipation.
And then came the cake,
a splendid fruit cake
coated with marzipan,
iced and cut
into slices,
one for each child.
What a treat!
I didn’t like marzipan,
so I ate the icing
and the cake
and left the marzipan to be thrown away
with the paper serviette.
But this was not allowed,
the teacher said.
All of the treat must be eaten.
I didn’t want to eat it.
Well, adults aren’t made to eat food
that they don’t like, are they,
so why should children?
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t just.
The teacher disagreed.
I must eat the treat,
she said.
So I threw it on the floor,
and to make sure,
stamped on it.
I was made to stand on a chair
in disgrace for not eating the treat.
At four years old,
it was my first encounter
with irony.

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