Yesterday we had an office lunch. It was ordered by a drug rep, quite tasty and there was way too much for us to finish. As an added bonus, 95% of what was being served was ok for me to eat with my fun little dairy allergy.
With just a little time left in the break, 2 of my colleagues put the remains of their desserts on a plate, and the 3 of us ran out to do a few errands before getting back to work. The day went on. At 5:00 we all went to gather our things from the break room and one of the people who had saved dessert noticed that it was no longer on the plate. She was understandably sad. I mumbled something along the lines of sympathy for the situation and rushed out to my car so that I could make it to Zumba class with enough time to change out of my work clothes. I thought that was the end of things.
Today was rough. I was again assisting the doctor in the exam room with patients, which meant that I had a bunch of running around. For absolutely no reason whatsoever I was up at 5 this morning, so I was tired and not really in the mood for running around. Add to that mix the stress of a busy day in general and a long list of errands that I needed to get done during my lunch break so that I could rush home to make an oil change appointment and make dinner for my family, I was in a pretty blah mood. I decided to cheer myself up by doing something nice for my colleagues, so I bought a whole bunch of the candies that I know they like and brought them back to fill our candy jars around the office. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about yesterday's cookie at this point.
When the last patient of the day had been seen, the exam rooms tidied, and we were all congregated around the reception desk to take stock of any remaining chores to complete before leaving for the day, the colleague who's cookie was taken announced that, in the spirit of full disclosure and being honest both with herself and us, she wanted to let me know that from the time we left yesterday through most of today she had been certain that I had taken the cookie. Apparently something had convinced her, rightly, that this was not so.
I was stunned. I had no idea what to say, and actually found myself apologizing to her. This person came out and told me that she thought I had A) Taken something of hers and B) If not exactly lied about doing so, at least neglected to confess. And I apologized. I gave her a hug and told her I was sorry she would think I would do something like that. I wanted to make her feel better for thinking something so bad about me. OK, in the grand scheme of things, it was just a cookie. Not even a whole one. It's not like she was accusing me of stealing her wallet or her phone or something. Still, I felt the need to make her feel better about making me feel like a horrible person.
The thought struck me as I was leaving, that she probably thought I was the culprit because I'm the fat one. Whenever food goes missing, you always look to the fat one, right? It doesn't matter that I routinely stay away from the sweets, with the exception of mints after lunch and hard candy or cough drops when my throat is sore or my voice hoarse. Forget about the fact that I'm actually in pretty good shape (albeit pretty round) and working my ass off to work my ass off. Who cares about any of that? When food goes missing, blame the fat one.
I cried all the way to my oil change.
It's all made me think. Was she right to let me know she no longer suspected me of taking her cookie when I was blissfully unaware that she had done so? Is it better to be completely honest like that in order to make yourself feel better when the end result only hurts the person (in this case in a couple of different ways)?
I didn't ask why she no longer suspected me, but I'm inclined to think that someone else confessed. I'm sure no one took the cookie maliciously. There was a lot going on during the lunch and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the other people in the office had seen the 2 cookie halves and thought they were simply leftovers and up for grabs. I'll probably never ask her about it. I will, however, continue to see myself as the fat one who people don't seem to trust around food.