My Nan lived on a farm, in a farmhouse with a red tiled roof. There were at least four bedrooms in that house; when we children stampeded the farm during the holidays, the bedrooms would be bursting with all the kids taking up favourite corners in their sleeping-bags.
One bedroom was of particular interest; beside it was a quaint old cupboard, which contained all Nan’s nuts and raisins, chocolate and her cake baking paraphernalia. Many of us wanted that particular bedroom to sleep in, because the proximity to the cupboard meant delicious night raids.
One night, I found, apart from all the raisins and nuts, which I filled my pockets with, a pack of…condoms! Being a girl of not more than 10, I had no idea what these were. I nicked one quickly. Back into my sleeping-bag, I shared the booty of treats with two cousins who had been awake.
The next morning, right after breakfast, I grabbed a cousin’s hand and ran into the wooded area behind Nan’s farm.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“This,” I replied, showing him the condom. “What is it?”
He looked just as baffled. Without much ado, we tore the little packet open, gasping at the lovely, mother-of-pearl latex within.
My cousin rolled it out and we sighed again. Nan was hiding the most amazing balloons in her Cake Cupboard.
“I think she’s saving these up for Christmas,” my cousin remarked and I agreed. He put it to his mouth and blew, and it filled into such a gorgeous balloon!
“It’s so pretty,” I gushed.
“Any more there?” he asked as he tied the mouth into a knot and sent it into the air, where it caught a draft and went above the trees.
“There’s plenty left.”
“Okay,” he said, fired up. “My turn tonight.”
(c) Cindy Pereira