They say the c-word still has the power to shock. I agree. I never imagined I'd be dipping my nib into that part of the lexical inkpot for this blog and so, surprised by its appearance, I find myself blotting out a little with asterisks.
It's all Sara's fault. Last night, our last night in Fiji, I was lying in bed, concentrating on not feeling either sore or sorry for myself. I had spent the week eating three square meals - no, cubed meals - a day at Plantation Island Resort, and now I was trying to manage my own internal queue for the buffet. Somewhere deep in my intestines, far too close to the exit, the guests were elbowing for position. I was not in the most receptive mood for humour. But the most irresistible humour is accidental. Sara's speciality. She's starting to read Harry Potter now (sibling rivalry has an important role to play in children's development) and she gives us regular updates from whatever corner of whatever bedroom she happens to be sleeping in on any given night. And so she began.
"In Hogwart's, the money they use is called mumble"
I raised an eyebrow, and turned my head to Letizia beside me. "What was that sweetheart?"
Sara, louder: "In Hogwart's, the money they use is called mumble that definitely began with the letter c".
I manage to sit up a little, and started elbowing Letizia. "Once more? I can't hear that last word."
Sara, impatiently: "In Hogwart's, the money they use is called cunts".
Ouch! There is was! There it is!! What the hell is going on!! She's a 7 year old, and she has never ever heard that word. With the appeasing tone of voice that one reserves for hostage situations I said "Could you spell that please?"
"Cnoots" I replied, before she even finished. "Cnooooots!! Can you say it back to me?"
"Yes! Good! Cnoots!"
Emergency over, Letizia and I hidden by a corner of our L-shaped room, let the tears roll silently down our cheeks, shaking with laughter for minutes but afraid that we would be heard by the girls, still concentrating on their reading.
Soon after, I started drifting off to sleep, disturbed occasionally by recurring shakes of suppressed laughter and intestinal cramps, thinking what a stupid cnooot I'd been for eating so much.