“Let’s catch this one and eat it for dinner,” I said pointing to an imaginary tuna.
She burst out laughing. “No, Mum! We’re not catching the type of fish you eat for dinner! We’re catching the type of fish that swim in the sea.”
As I am both a coward and an overprotective, wet molly-coddler, I said nothing. Who wants to tell a three-year-old that humans kill animals, skin them, cut them up and eat them?
The thing about not wearing your glasses is that you can’t see. But sometimes you don’t know you can’t see. I was at a small get-together and I thought I saw a coaster. It was a lovely coaster. It was covered in bright plum flowers and swirling paisley-esque patterns. I put my glass of red wine on it. My husband shot me a look of disbelief.
“What?” I said.
I noticed that other people appeared to be shooting me questioning glances. “Weirdos”, I thought. I picked up my glass and took another sip of wine. My husband moved the coaster away from me and toward him. “There’s only one coaster and he has to take it,” I thought. “That’d be about right.” I leaned across him and took the coaster back. Then I put my glass of wine on it.
Then it happened. My godson put all of my daughter’s efforts to shame with a single request. He wanted “’nother cracker.” He pronounced it “mother fucker.” He really liked crackers. Morning tea time he wanted “mother fucker”. Lunch time he needed “mother fucker.” By afternoon tea time he was getting tired and grounchy and he wanted “Mother fucker! Mother fucker! Mother fucker!”
I was an optimist. A crazy, delusional optimist. I thought I might be able to buy a house in Auckland’s overheated property market. What a fool! At least I have learnt a few things, like that real estate ads are 60 per cent bull shit and 40 per cent horse shit. Here I translate some common phrases…
Up and coming area.
The neighbours all wear ankle monitoring bracelets.
Good things come in small packages!
You can open the fridge while sitting on the toilet.
Cos there’s no way you could decrease it.
Eighteen long months I spent wooing that ginger beast. I wanted to heal his timid heart, show it humans could be kind, that they could be trusted. I hate to think what it had been through before being adopted by the neighbours but it was terrified of everything and everybody.
I worked slowly and cautiously as all feline fanatics do. I did daily crazy cat lady calls across the fence as it lazed in the sun. “Hello puss puss!” I did crazy cat lady crouching while I rubbed my thumb and middle finger together. I never ever approached him. I wanted him to make the move. I wanted him to feel in control. Of course I did. That’s crazy cat lady 101.
And then after a year and a half of slow, steady work, a breakthrough! As I ate lunch on the front porch, he appeared, his ginger fur catching the midday sun. He sniffed around me. He let me touch him! I stroked his warm coat. I whispered word of love and comfort. I revelled in my own victory. Of course I did – I had no idea what was to come. And God knows neither did he.