‘Do you need anything from the shops?’ My husband asks pre-quest for AA batteries. I replied ‘no’ and thanked him as he scooped up our toddler and off they went.
He is a good man and a brave one at that. Shopping combined with our toddler is challenging as she tends to disappear up the aisles in a mad dash waddle -sprint . She transforms herself into a human bowling ball, striking out random legs as she goes, or, if she has not taken them down, she inevitably follows them. Lily will follow anyone around the mall – except her parents it seems.
Anyway, they left and I took a moment to scan the kitchen. In his haste to grab the necessary for the nappy bag, a bomb had exploded in the midst of their departure. Ignoring it I stepped over the deluge, and focused on my own quest; flinging open the fridge door and rummaging in the vegetable section for my chocolate – hidden under the broccoli.
Uhmm. Not where I left it? That’s odd. Then I see the familiar purple matte paper squatting near a lettuce. Ashamed to say, I feel elated, and puffed up like a gooey chocolate soufle. I lunge at the bar, but the wrapper, limp of content, scrunches up in my hand. Still optimistic I check for remnants, but all I find is a very neatly rolled up, tiny, foil ball.
Urghhh! Not only did he EAT my half of the chocolate, he left a calling card. I see him in my head; black room, except the illumination from the open fridge door and there he is shoving in the last pieces, probably licking his fingers as he did so. Next I imagine him considering disposing of the evidence – then changing his mind and deciding it would be hilarious to leave it. I watch as he rolls ups the foil, precisely in two fingers and places it carefully back under the broccoli, no scratch that, I mean lettuce. He is so chocolate engulfed now he has forgotten it was supposed to be under the broccoli..
It rings out. It bloody rings out. Now I am really pissed off. How hard is it to control a 20 month old child, a shopping cart and your mobile? Answer the phone damn you! I was literally shaking as I imagined him, hearing the phone ringing, assuming it was me and thinking that as he had charge of our daughter, there simply was not anything more pressing that I could possibly need right now and ignoring it. OK so he was right of sorts.
But at that point, I was desperate and I needed chocolate.
Then I saw it -his mobile phone on the kitchen table. It was buzz buzzing away and doddering across the table on its little vibration, dancing so very close to the edge. I was very tempted to let it drop off the table at that moment, serve him right for eating my chocolate.
I hung up the phone and contemplated my options. Biscuits. I am sure I have some chocolate biscuits somewhere. I find the tin, and yank off the lid. The metal echo confirmed what I already knew, shards of manky biscuit, not even chocolate stare back at me. I close the lid quickly. It smelt off.
Determined I stuck my head further to the pantry. There at the back, the magic word. Cocoa. I have never been so happy to find a packet of anything, let alone Cocoa. Impressed that I even had Cocoa and with no recollection as to when it was purchased, I considered my culinary option. Surely a little bit of this with flour and maybe an egg and possibly a dash of bicarb, would make me something remotely chocolate tasting? I stared my newly cleaned oven, and the already obliterated kitchen, Really? Is this as far as this should go? Momentarily sidetracked I pushed back the flaps on the Cocoa box and peered in. The contents, once powder, were now more tiny rocks; I stuck in a spoon to loosen some of the gravel. Ashamed to admit I only hesitated for a second and then without another thought, shoved the spoon into my mouth. The gravel broke up quicker than I expected and the dust cloud exploded, over my tongue, up to the roof of my mouth and down my throat. With cheek expansion I gagged and blew out what was left.
It was at that point I heard the front door open.‘We’re home !’
The little pitter- patter waddle run stopped in her tracks, as she stared up at me. My husband, laden with shopping bags, follows behind.
‘Your face is splattered in dog shit’. He says matter of fact.
‘’Shit ! Shit ! Shit ! ‘repeats Lily. Great. We wait 20 months for a word. Months of dedicated reading, story telling and observing and she says ‘Shit’.
‘Its Cocoa’. I defend and wipe my mouth, transferring the brown sludge onto my hand. ‘COCOA’ I repeat loudly to Lily. Hoping the other word will be forgotten and replaced.
‘Got desperate did you?’
‘Well, if you had not eaten my stash…….’ I start to defend then trail off, deciding just to sit straighter and poised on my righteous pedestal. Blame. Blame. Divert. Divert. Divert. It was his fault.
‘Oh right, well then. Did it satisfy?’ he enquired.
He was enjoying this. I could tell. His mouth has turned up in one corner, not quite a smile. More like a smug. Yes a smug. He was giving me a smug.
I considered giving him the satisfaction of the moment and saying ‘no’. Thus transferring the guilt of eating my chocolate back onto him, then I considered saying ‘yes’. Just to prove the point that I can be resourceful in all situations.
I opt for guilt. ‘No. Of course not. I cannot believe you ate my half of the chocolate’. I say it quietly and try to sound very sad.
‘Yes I did’, he admitted ‘and that’s why I have replaced it for you’. He said and promptly stacks three of my favourite chunky bars on the counter ‘ It was on special – so I splurged’. He delved deeper into the bag. ‘Plus, I got some more milk and another loaf of bread – I noticed we were running low”
I slide off my pedestal, a deflated soufle and consider Lesson 5437 – A man does not want nor need a shopping list .
– Just for today. He can have that one.