I'm nine years old. Usually I escaped the madness of these gatherings by babysitting but tonight I unfortunately was free to "entertain" the guests.

I don't like the parties. Adults are messy, noisy individuals who hover and complain. And they always invite ( I guess from work) the one person who I try to avoid but can't. This was one of those times. Mom and dad were getting dressed so I went into the living room and set up the "bar". A mishmash I gather of glasses, spoons, ice bucket full of ice, and a generally decent flower arrangement for a kid. After the first few parties I quit placing any table cloth since I usually had to clean up afterwards.

I especially hated the fact that I never got paid for my work. This as a child annoyed me immediately if my night was busy. I preferred to watch TV or read but since they took over all but the kitchen, I learned quickly to grab a working flashlight from the work bench and a book and my iPod and tuck myself into the farthest cupboard I could fit in.

I was small still so I still fit in the pantry cupboard if I adjusted some of the cans. I groaned. Dad had just fixed himself a drink and put on his music. Ugh! I hated country. To me they sounded like drowning crows. I put on my headphones and turned up the volume. I chose new age. I turned on my flashlight and begin reading a very thick book. I learned from the last party when the book I had was too short. I had to get a new book last time and got cornered by Dad's friend Jerard. I threw up in my mouth thinking about that night. He was drunk and kept telling at me to "dance" with him. He reeked. I managed to escape his clutches when Dad saw how close he was getting to me. I don't think he remembers Dad "clocking him" and still invites himself at Dad's mercy. Dad quit looking for me after that, but Mom thought it was a cute game I played. Trust me, avoidance during these times were a very hard thing to do. Once mom was out of the kitchen for the night, the cupboard became my sanctuary. The only drawback really as a nine year old was I never got to sleep. Sometimes I slept in the cupboard because my bed usually had someone I hated sleeping there. Tonight would be no exception. I heard the doorbell rang and Dad opened the door for the first guests. "Gross, it was our neighbors Al and June. I knew the routine, Dad would fix them a drink, and Mom would gush over June's dress and hair. It was nauseating. Al and Dad would sit on the sofa and talk about sports, usually football until the next guests arrived, which, they did. I cracked the cupboard door a bit to hear the next guests and quickly shut it again hoping no one heard me. It was Jerard. Bile rose in my throat. I turned the volume down a little so I could hear where Jerard was. I sat still, breathing in stifled gasps because it was getting warm in my hiding space. I wasn't allowed to swear but words were quickly forming in my mouth and I had to go to the bathroom. I slipped out of my hiding space and quietly turned the knob on the kitchen door. "Click" So far so good. I went outside and behind the shed. I prayed that I would be able to pee in peace. As I came around the corner to go back inside more guests were coming up the walk. "Damn!" And bit my lip. I scurried up the nearest tree unaware that it was chilly out and I had no coat. I left my bedroom window open a crack for these emergencies. I needed new supplies of music and for some reason Mom would tend to lock me out. A treehouse was out. I asked Dad to build me one and he just rambled on about if I fell and how hospitals gouged the public.

I went to the kitchen door. Locked. I went to my window and shoved it open. I grabbed a new book and a small stuffed animal and tried to sneak back in the kitchen. Ugh! Jerard was leaning by my hiding space. With only my book and stuffed animal I ran to Dad's work bench. Music and that light was out but I stashed away another and crawled under the bench as far as I could go. Dad never allowed his guests to go there. He said he didn't want to lose any tools. It happened once before I was born. So I was safe for the night.

I think I fell asleep about an hour after I hid under the bench because it was quiet. I crept out to find the morning sunrise beam furiously on my face blinding me. I smiled. I survived another party.

October 11, 2019 16:05

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