Hide and Seek
I remembered stuffing it in the closet under some shirts, or in my gym bag, or was it in my boots? I dug through my drawers and the linen closet and beneath the sink in the bathroom and I visualized a bowl in the kitchen, but it wasn’t there (in reality), and it wasn’t in the pantry or the basket where I kept the bread. And the problem with the hiding is the finding, which is of course the point, and I’ve got to keep a step ahead of them but then I’m flustered and they stomp impatiently mumbling, you lost it.
No. I didn’t, I say and I’m defiant. If you didn’t keep finding my hiding places, I wouldn’t have to keep moving things.
You don’t have to hide it, they say and they seem like the rational ones.
I do. Because you keep sneaking.
You lost it, they repeat for effect, for a dig, and they appear to be right and they sigh and stomp and I think maybe I have.
Go away. You can’t see my spot, I say, and it’s true, but mostly I don’t want them to see me throwing dishtowels in the air to search beneath. I have my pride. And this is an old movie we’re replaying. I’ve become a wizard at making things disappear. Mostly treats and electronics for the simple reasons their stomachs are sink holes and they know no limits.
Today it’s candy I’m seeking. The neighbor gave them a bucket and they thought it would taste good at midnight, so I took it away because they were beginning to gorge.
There’s that, and I hide granola bars and cereal bars or fruit snakes to save some for school or tomorrow or maybe for in a few hours because they’ll inhale a box within minutes. They’re locusts, swarming the pantry leaving trails of cracker and pretzel crumbs and the counter is littered with wrappers and I’m hungry I hear as they pass with chips spilling from their fists to the refrigerator and they swing the milk in a low arch up to the counter, sixteen plus gallons a month, and I grimace but they don’t spill. Dinner’s almost ready I say, no more snacking. But they’re starved and I shovel them out of the house anyways though someone sneaks back while I’m chopping carrots because I hear the rustling of packaging and so I turn.
I pull some chips from a corner and I cover the bag with a potholder when I hear the door slam because there’s really not much left and I want a few. And the truth is, I hide things because I want to eat, and I too am an addict—I have my stash of chocolate or licorice for occasional nibbling only because I keep it moving like live game into new hid-away. And sometimes they find it and I find the wrappers ripped and worn at the bottom in the place where I left them, or in the pockets of their jeans or stuffed in the crack between a dresser and the wall.
And it’s not just food. I hide the electronics when the boys don’t respect time, when they’ve passed their limit and I’ve put the IPods away only to have the devices reappear under pillows or in pockets with their stolen sugar. Or maybe the boys cling to the laptop watching a zombie videos and they haven’t finished their homework or they’ve lost the gaming privilege altogether after beating on a brother.
And so it’s cloak and dagger but the dagger part is a little dull because there’s not so much deduction and the IPod has been gone for months and it’s your fault Mom! And I think maybe it is, then I find it under the seat in the car where they sit and I gloat.
For today I’ll keep seeking whatever I hide. It’s just a game I play.