I’d been looking for matching socks that the dryer hadn’t eaten, when I ventured under my daughter’s bed.
Reaching into the darkness, I placed my hand on something that sent shivers racing down my spine. I withdrew as if I’d been bitten. I went in again and pulled it forth into the light. It was furry. Green-grey. Powdery to the touch.
Was it the ham and alfalfa sandwich she told me she’d eaten last month? Or perhaps the wholemeal muffin I made last week? Maybe it was the dinner of vegetable curry she told me was delicious? One thing was sure – whatever it was, it smelled like cheese.
“Hey gorgeous girl of mine,” I said as she walked in from school.
“Uh-oh,” she said.
“Don’t be silly, I’m not going to get hysterical.”
“Phew,” she sighed. So what happened?”
“Well it’s more what didn’t happen. Remember the ham and alfalfa sandwich?”
She nodded, confused.
“Okay, well maybe not the sandwich. What about the muffin?”
Her eyes darted to the back door.
“It was really good, Mum.”
“Then why was it under your bed?”
I heard a tap drip in the kitchen. The clock tick a few seconds. A tumbleweed drifted by.
“I had a bite, really I did,” she said, her voice betraying a slight tremor. “I tried Mum, honestly. It just tasted a bit, um…like cheese?”
“How could it taste like cheese? It was cacao and blueberry.”
Okay. We know I’m not great in the kitchen. Which made me wonder where she had stashed the rest of those things that she perhaps didn’t enjoy quite so much. I returned to the bedroom, and watched her panicked eyes flit from one hiding spot to the other, and pulled forth seven furry blobs in total.
Strangely, they all smelled of cheese. And it wasn’t the dryer eating the socks. Turns out they’re a great hiding place for all things cheesy.
“Shall we make a deal?” I said.
“Seeing as you don’t have any socks left, how about you just tell me when you don’t like something, and we’ll put it in the compost.”
“Because I tried the compost. The whole thing just smelled like cheese and killed the plants.”
“Uh, I mean… Um… It was winter. They were going to die anyway,” she said. “And cheese isn’t such a bad smell, really.”
I sighed. “Okay. We’ll just bin it.”
She nodded and we emptied all the sock treasures into the bin.
But now it just smells like cheese.