My daughters were entertaining themselves in the kitchen with a stack of seaweed paper and rice. They were both up on the counter rolling tiny sushi cigars and giggling them away until their teeth turned green. But they must have gotten bored of this at some point, because a few minutes later Clara came down the steps and found me at the computer.
“I have something for you, Daddy.” she said. There was a twinkle in her eye that I immediately found suspicious.
“What’s that?” I asked.
She held a shriveled roll of seaweed towards me. “Lydia and I made this new thing.”
I squinted at the shiny green disco taquito. “What is that exactly?” I said, making sure to avoid any motion that would suggest that she should hand it to me.
“We call it…” she waved her arms dramatically, “Bananushi.” she leaned in and her eyebrows wiggled mysteriously. “But I’m not going to tell you what the secret ingredient is.”
I stared at her tiredly. Again she was going with this secret ingredient thing. I really don’t understand it. I mean, every ingredient is equally secret to a child, right? If you ask them the main ingredient of pizza they will tell you it’s ‘pizza’. And then when pressed they will say, ‘I don’t know… apples… rootbeer, lactose, nails, cartoon characters, birds, weekends, bubbles, fire…’ It’s all nonsense to them. But secret ingredients. Now there is something they understand. There is something they can relate to. ‘There is something in this and I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I want to you eat it.’ That has been their life since the day they were born. Now they can just participate in these activities with us, or maybe they are just trying to get us back?
I was still considering all of these things when I realized she was still standing motionless in from of me, with her frozen toothy grin, waiting for my response, teetering slightly while she leaned towards me presenting the sequined worm in her extended palm. “Oh. You’re really not going to tell me what is in your Bananushi? Not even a hint or anything?”
“Nope.” She smiled.
I nodded. “Well, I’m not really hungry for anything right now, but maybe you could ask your Mom.”
“Okay,” she said. And she twirled and ran up the stairs, leaving a small trail of crumbling rice and banana globs behind her on the floor as she went.