I lay awake at about 3:30 this morning, an unfortunately frequent occurrence. I was in the bed in the dark, thinking middleofthenight kinds of thoughts, and slowly it dawned on me that my stomach hurt. I wasn't totally aware of it at first, but there it was. A distinctly uncomfortable state squirming its way into my consciousness.

"Why does my stomach hurt?" I tuned in to my belly. "What is that feeling?" hmmm...

Oh!! It's HUNGER! I'm HUNGRY!! Of COURSE I am!! I had a tiny dinner. Like eight hours ago. Hhhuuunnnngggeerrrrr.

I got up. Padded to the kitchen. In the 25-foot trek I thought of the Crunch Berries. Remember them? Captain Crunch, all square and mouth-tearing, and sweet deliciousness. Comingled with the sweet sweet sugar-bombs, round and pink and berrylike. Mmmmm...

One of the many nice things about living with a 43-year-old teenager is that I get to rediscover the simple things.

Like Captain Crunch and his berries.

I took down the box. Got out the bowl. Poured the milk.

The first bite took me straight to the past. Not childhood, for sure, because my mother would never have allowed Captain Crunch. But some feeling of summer vacation, probably college, when sweet cereals meant a carefree weekend for some reason, when all reason and adult decision-making was cast aside to make room for the "vitamin fortified" fluff of junk cereal.

They're different now. The berries are all sorts of colors, and the berry-to-square ratio is much higher. Ah, they always spoil a good thing.

I headed back to the bedroom, and was nearly through the living room when I saw him. He stood in the doorway, hidden, mostly, by the shadow falling diagonally across his body. The darkness and strange shadows hid most of his face. I screamed and jumped back, nearly spilling the crunch.

"You scared me!!!"

Eddie sat between us, his body a tense torpedo, his claws gripping the ground. His eyes, which I couldn't see in the light but imagined, looked from him to me, waiting for the answer. Tense seconds past. I could barely make out his frown in the shadows.

More silence.

I took a bite, but hesitated to chew.

His eyes settled on me. Pure fury.

"You stole my Crunch."

Meh. We'll get more. And I crunch crunch CRUNCHED myself to happiness.

Although he mentioned it again this evening. Apparently, this is serious business.