“This is the best dessert I’ve ever had,” my husband declared. “You have to take it away from me.”
Hide it somewhere, he told me. Somewhere I won’t find it. Otherwise I’ll eat the whole thing.
Over the next few days it became a game of sorts: I would find a hiding place, he would stumble onto it (or seek it out), crunch down several bites, and ask me to hide it again. I enjoyed the task, though the toffee carried a special challenge, its box promising that handmade confections really needed to be refrigerated, or better, frozen. It was cold outside, but we had plenty of critters — including something large that had recently thrown the entire contents of our garbage all over the cul-de-sac — so outdoor options were limited.
On the third day I had my most brilliant idea. It was Saturday afternoon, and the mail had already come. As the sun went down I realized that for a good 36 hours no one would disturb … the mailbox. I placed the toffee inside, double-checked that it was latched, headed in. (Ten or fifteen minutes later, I headed back out under the pretext of taking out the trash, where naturally, I snagged another bite. I mean, I agreed with him, it was amazing.)
Over the course of the next day, safe in the knowledge that no one would either think of nor discover my latest hiding place, I’d smile with pleasure each time I remembered the secret. It must have been almost exactly 24 hours — the sun was just starting to dip again — when the mail truck pulled up.
My voice went unnaturally shrill. “What’s the mailman doing here on a Sunday?” I tried to sound casual, but it came out as a panicked shriek. No one responded (I am the only person in the house that keeps track of the calendar), though they joined me at the bay window to observe the action.
I was of two minds. On the one hand, I did not want the mail carrier to take the precious toffee, the world’s best dessert. On the other hand, we didn’t need the toffee. As evidenced by my husband’s entreaties, we had plenty of treats around the house, and we’re not very good at controlling ourselves (see also Yum). On the third, and most complicated hand lay the possibility that the mail carrier would interpret the box as a gift for him, take it in good faith, and then believe that we had gifted him, as our holiday offering, a two-thirds-eaten box of candy. I was going to have to go out there.
But as we watched, the mail carrier — on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas, in the dusk and the rain, bless him — carried a single package to our door, wished us a Merry Christmas, and drove away. The mailbox remained unmolested. Later that evening, I bragged that I had found the best hiding place.
Christmas Eve morning: my husband conceded. “Ok, where is it?” he said.
“I’m confused,” I admitted. “You can have the toffee if you want. But do you really want it? Or do you not want it?”
“I want it.”
“It’s in the mailbox.” I even went to get it for him. As I handed it over, I replayed the postman’s visit, this time sharing my perspective, the one of assured impending toffee disaster. He laughed, less impressed by the hiding place than I had been. He finished the box for breakfast.