By Fiona LECKERMAN
It’s 5PM and breaded crumbs from devoured fish fingers cover chubby hands which decorate their satisfied mouths, tomato sauce seeps from the sides of plates, chips dipped and deserted. An average dining experience at our home, a staple, a predictable but palatable dinner and they are done. They are done by their hands dusted with food, pushing discarded plates away, done but not finished entirely. “I wan’ a special teat,” she demands. And he echoes her with wanting eyes and the licking of little lips. “I want a special treat too, please mummy.”
As I sit there and gaze at their faces and listen to their pleas, my mind sets off on a tour of my fridge and inside my cupboards. It takes a whirlwind inventory of special treats we have in stock, the usual, the same, the ordinary. If I am bored of bourbons, fed-up of fruit and yawn at yogurts then I imagine they must be too.
A wave of guilt washes over me. “Peas Mummy, I wan’ a special teat.” And, it’s not that they have been particularly well-behaved children today. No tidying has been done, no sudden departure from frenzied tantrums – plus there’s certainly no need to reward the incident involving a red crayon and a once white cot.
Perhaps it’s my desire to shake things up, to step away from my fridge and those cupboards that inspire me to take action. I test the water with a tentative question. “How would you both like to go to Orli to get a grogola?” A sudden simultaneous, “Yes!” fills the air and saturates the space around us. “Yesss, peas, I wan’ a grogola.” She repeats over and over. In the blink of an eye he gets up, finds his shoes, finds her shoes and even finds my shoes. We make an immediate exit.
Our happy stroll down the street is a jubilant march; it picks up a purposeful pace. We navigate the streets like pros. We walk along the wall with a steely determination, eyes firmly on the chocolate prize that awaits once we just turn the corner, once we just cross the road, once we just open the door and once we finally smell the baked bread and sweet delights that await behind the glass counter that our hungry tummies long for.
“May I have a grogola, three or five please.” His greedy order is forgiven by the accompanying cheeky grin. Two for each will do, I correct and they settle down to gobble up their special treat. There is silence, some chewing, the odd lick capturing an escaped morsel. Quiet eating, quiet delight. Until she raises her half eaten grogola aloft, like a golden trophy, breaking the stillness and declares, “Mmmm delicious!” And I have no doubt that she is right. Her chocolate coated cheeks smile at me and so do his. Happy children, happy mummy. Inspiration one, boredom nil. And as inspiration often does, it holds my hand and leads me onwards as we enter the Kosher Deli and pick up some meatballs for daddy.
It dawns on me that it’s not really inspiration; it’s not even a break from the normal. We actually do this quite often. We even walked past that very morning and I was begged, as I often am, with “I wan’ a black seeds bagel.” How could I refuse? It may have been a deviation from the mundane dessert offering to venture to Orli past 5pm but the buying of food here, a hop and a skip from our home is a frequent occurrence.
We bump in to our friends in there; there is often a knowing glance of how nice it is. And, as we walk back, climb back on the wall facing our homeward bound direction I laugh as my son shouts, really shouts, holding his hands by his mouth, like a megaphone, announcing, informing, telling, like a tiny town crier: “Hello, we have a new Kosher Deli.” He dances along the road, repeating his proclamation. I wonder at how he can somehow read my mind. I don’t shush him, because he is right, we do and it’s great.
And all of a sudden for a brief moment, if time could stand still, (almost) all my anxieties about nourishing their little souls disappear. Because no matter what or where they go, they are part of a community right here, no inspiration needed, it’s a walk away.
It’s on the street where we live.
Who needs inspiration when you’re part of a community?