I dream of things I thought we had and now I can't find, like evidence of his love and our savings; meanwhile things I was sure had gone missing long ago turn up again: photos from several of these holidays with Dan and Veronica; D&J's girls growing and blossoming as the rest of us flesh out and grey up. And that cheesegrater.
When we went to Ghana that time – it was a conference on trends in development at, I think it was called, the Golden Tulip. Sounds exotic, but it was just an international business hotel albeit with a swanky poolside bar. My only real taste of Africa was sneaking off one morning to the thrilling chaos of Accra market: dried fish in baskets, coconuts sliced open with machetes, stalls of teaching equipment: giant rulers, exercise books with uplifting mottos on, alphabet slates, and everywhere constant, relentless haggling.
Nothing had a fixed value, so every transaction involved negotiations bordering on violent argument. I bought, and for probably much more than it was worth but much less than anything costs here, of all things, a cheesegrater.
I was so pleased with it. I liked its crude tin shape, its fearsome serrated edges and holes punctured in the sides with a nail. When I mislaid it back in London, it felt as if this cheesegrater was the most precious object I had ever owned. I became convinced it had been stolen by a friend of my husband’s. I found myself concocting a whole story around what had happened to it, why this wicked woman had taken it and how I might confront her or even go to her house and try to steal it back again. Making up explanations, like I’m trying to do for these messages I’m getting.
Then I opened a drawer in the kitchen one day and there was my cheesegrater. So I immediately forgot all about it again.
Until the other day when I found this picture:
I wonder where the thing is now.