I have guests for dinner today, and as I spin around my kitchen, the air seems cooler suddenly, despite the heat from the cooking range. I quickly realize that the refrigerator door has not shut properly.
I push the door gently and smile, as I remember something that happened last summer.
The kids had their summer holidays, and they played, watched TV, fought, played board games, argued, wanted food, went swimming, wanted more food, fought, had pillow fights, and wanted more food. Their energy was exhausting.
Their cousins came to stay for a few days and they fought harder, it was girls vs boys, they sulked, they wanted food, they wanted more food and watched TV, played games and fought.
Just like kids everywhere, trying to make the best of their holidays.
On one such day, I could sense a difference in the kids’ rhythm. They seemed excited and I caught them whispering; whispers that stopped when I walked in. My ‘mom antennae’ were on high-alert. They scurried about the house and counted their pocket money. They visited the kitchen many times on the pretext of getting a drink of water.
The little ones were threatened by their bigger cousins to keep the secret, whatever it was. I could sense that they were planning a midnight feast. What fun!
I envied them their treasured secret, the joys of planning and the thrill of anticipation, as they winked and hugged and high-fived each other. I wondered where they were hoarding their eats for the midnight feast.
Predictably, the little monsters pretended to be quite sleepy, and went to bed early, giggling and nudging each other.
The household wound down. I was still reading a book, when the clock struck twelve. I could hear smothered giggles, hushes, whispers and more giggles. I gently opened the bedroom door, to see the midnight troopers walking towards the kitchen, with a reading light showing them the way. All of them settled down on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t see them any more, from where I stood. But I could hear their whispers and the fun they were having as they tucked into all the hoarded goodies.
When the sun rose, I saw the team of midnight-snackers, fast asleep in their cute night suits, their innocent faces relaxed in sleep, their long lashes forming fans on their cheeks. I could imagine how they would wake up and remember their midnight escapade and talk about it for ages.
When I walked into the kitchen, a cool wave of air hit me. I realized that the kids had not shut the refrigerator’s door properly. I saw telltale signs of the feast, drops of chocolate syrup, crumbs of bread and potato wafers, bits of chocolate chips. I smiled.
They only woke up in time for lunch. I could see their eyes gleaming with joy, as they looked at each other knowingly. Their own secret, which they hugged to themselves.
Simple moments of pure joy.