From the Guidebook for Distress:
I’m just barely a teenager, home alone on a weeknight. The house phone is ringing; it’s the eighties after all…so I answer it,
A male voice comes onto the line, an older male, “Hi, is your father home?”
“No,” I say. He says, “Is your mother there?”
“No, sorry,” I answer somewhat nonchalantly.
He then asks, “Do you know when they will be home?”
“I have no idea,” I respond.
“Okay, well, thanks then,” he replies slowly and the line clicks off.
For whatever reason, it’s that clicking sound that finally penetrates my teenage mind and I break out into a cold sweat. I feel my heart rate speed up and the hair on the back of my neck bristles.
I finally realize that I just told some man that I am home without my parents and I don’t know when they’re returning. Am I stupid, I wonder?
Did I learn nothing when just recently I watched a horror movie where someone called a teenage girl who was home all alone? It hadn’t ended well for her.
I stand frozen in the kitchen, fighting panic and trying to think. Rationale flies right out the window; I am after all, a drama-prone, female young adult.
I probably would have been imagining something akin to Ghostface from the movie Scream – but this was about ten years too early for that character. So maybe Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers or potentially Jason Voorhees was out there coming for me. This is troubling on so many levels; gah, and masks are the worst, and Freddy’s may as well be a mask! (shudder)
Suddenly, every window into the eat-in kitchen becomes a portal for the sex-crazed lunatic serial killer who I’d just practically invited over to be able to be watching me. Panic is surely winning this fight.
It’s not even dark yet. I try to figure out where to hide. Every room in this house has one or more of those lunatic portals; windows everywhere! Nowhere seems safe.
It occurs to me that the back left corner of the kitchen table nook is the only place in this entire house without sight lines. I begin mumbling somewhat incoherently to myself.
I can’t believe I’m about to be murdered in my own home. How could I have been so clueless?
Obviously I can’t go hide without arming myself, so frenzied I open the knife drawer. I rifle through finding the scariest, biggest, sharpest carving knife…and the matching fork. (Huh? Don’t ask.)
I take them both into the corner, away from any windows. I’ve worked myself into a good terror by this point. Dramatic much?
As I sit staring at the flower patterned wallpaper, the border of “baskets of flowers and apples, and wooden ducks” and the Norman Rockwell themed decorative plates on their little brass hangers – with a weapon in each hand, I begin to calm down. If he does come, I’m ready to carve him up good.
Ten minutes pass, then twenty. I think I’m there a good thirty-two minutes at least when all of a sudden I hear the crunch of gravel as a vehicle slowly glides up the driveway toward the side door.
My pulse quickens, my heart races and my grip tightens on the kitchenware instruments!
While the seconds tick by I strain to hear sounds from whoever is just outside, most likely plotting how to get in so they can find me and assault me. I can’t remember if the door is locked.
”Oh my god, I’m going to diiiieee in my own kitchen,“ I whisper, to myself and to Norman Rockwell’s kitschy hometown characters. “I haven’t even been in love yet!” I agonize…unless you count River Phoenix.
I close my eyes. No really, I just shut them tight. Yep.
Then as I hear innocuous sounds, I open them slowly, and my parents come into view. They have some pretty puzzled looks on their faces.
I imagine this is not where they had expected to find me. And I’m not doing what they had likely expected, either, sitting looking like I’m waiting for a Thanksgiving turkey to be placed before me.
“Well,“ I begin, “you’re home…finally! So someone called for you guys. Ahhh, I didn’t get a name, but…”
Barely-teenager me, with the dining nook & wallpaper/border behind me. 🙂
***I’m composing & compiling some vignettes into a
longer piece for later. Meanwhile, I plan to share at least
a few of them them here on my blog. The complete
compilation will most likely be called ‘Vade Mecum’. It’s
pronounced vey-dee mee-kuhm, and basically means
hand book, it’s Latin and translates to ‘go with me’.
They will be memoir pieces. They are all true, and from
my past. The overall theme is ‘Discomfort’…each
vignette will be: based on a synonym for this theme,
about a different memory for each word, & presented
as an excerpt from a varyingly titled type of handbook
or guide to…
[This is #1]
Raina K Morton March 31 2015