Yesterday afternoon I had to pick Tilly up from our house so that she could come and help us chaperone the school disco in the evening.
As she got into the car she said:
‘Mama. There are some bags on my bedroom floor. They’re not drugs.’
I pondered this.
I wondered whether it was a case of ‘the lady doth protest too much.’ It had never occurred to me that she might have bags of drugs on her bedroom floor. Could she be using the classic children’s trick of forestalling the worst? ‘I didn’t put muddy handprints all over the dining room walls, mama.’ sort of thing?
Then I thought – no. This is Tilly. She’s about as likely to do drugs as I am to become an internationally renowned rally driver.
I chucked a sentence into the strange silence that had developed.
‘It’s my friend’s birthday at school tomorrow. We’re having a party. I got some supplies.’
I wondered if this friend was the sort of friend one might risk bringing four pounds of uncut cocaine to school for. This could be some party.
I was still thinking about the drugs remark.
Clearly so was Tilly. Suddenly she said, all of a rush.
‘It’s just that the bags look a bit suspicious, and they’re in my room, and I didn’t want you to worry. I’m keeping them in there because I bought ginger nuts, and I knew if I put the ginger nuts in the kitchen then daddy would eat them, because he’s a total fiend for ginger nuts. Is that alright?’
This explained a lot. Jason cannot be trusted around ginger nuts, it is true.
We drove on.
The peculiar silence still lingered. I turned the whole conversation over in my mind.
I said, out of idle curiosity:
‘How big are the bags in your room out of interest?’
She gestured with her hands and made a shape approximately the size of two carrier bags.
I burst out laughing.
Tilly looked bemused.
‘If you did have drugs on your bedroom floor in quantities that big I salute you for your sheer bravado – and I’d like to know where you’re getting all your money.’
Tilly looked even more confused.
I am not about to enlighten her.