Wore the wrong sign back beside her

On a swing in the garden with late-year sunshine echoing through the leaves clinging tenaciously to the trees you told me all you knew about boogers. And although I was partly grossed out by your words I knew enough about six, just about to become seven-year-old girls to be sure that whatever I could say to try to stop you was nothing compared to what you would do to yourself before too long to prevent yourself from talking about these things for the rest of your life. So I let you chatter on as I pushed you away again and again confident that gravity and the ropes on the swing would return you back to me with equal love.

“Did you know that it doesn’t matter how wet a booger is it will always become something small, hard and black if you rub it against your skin for long enough?”

“No, I did not know that, sweetheart.”

I hummed a little ditty in between smiling at Stella sitting over on the porch doing something unpleasant with vegetables in preparation for dinner and keeping up with the rhythm of you on the swing.

“Mrs Allbright at the school says that boogers are clean.”


“Really. She says that they are what happens when nasal fluid, what is naturally produced when the nose gets tickled on the inside by something like dust or smoke, goes dry and crusty.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. Nasal fluid is snot,” you clarified.

“Well, I’ll be damned!”


“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Anyway, boogers aren’t clean. Not really.”

“What makes you say that?”

You sighed and said, “I knew you weren’t listening to me.”

“What did I miss?”

“I told you that when you rub boogers on your hand you always end up with something small and black!”

“Ah, yes, I remember that now. I’m so sorry.”

“That black thing is dirt! Look, let me show you.”

It was then that you let go of one of the ropes on the swing with your fingers and, in one graceful flow stuck one of them up a nose hole and started rooting around inside. Your fall from the swing was not at all graceful and neither were the words Stella directed in my face as she swept you off the ground and hustled you into the house.

You eventually stopped thrashing around enough for us to determine that nothing much was wrong with you other than a dress that needed soaking a little longer than usual and repairing a little bit more than it could bear. But it was your favourite knocking-about dress and so I did it all the same.

Once you’d done wriggling and wailing you smiled at me in a way that I recognised. Then you stuck your finger out in front of my face.


I looked. You’d found something up your nose that was neither gold nor potatoes and then you …

And although that might not strictly be a whole ‘nother story I think that’s quite enough for tonight, young lady. Go to sleep now.

From Marla then here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here until wrong and write gather each other up.


3 thoughts on “Wore the wrong sign back beside her

  1. Pingback: No tomorrow’s at peace | Robert C Day

  2. Pingback: This is a waltz thinking about our bodies | Robert C Day

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