Never Going to Grow Up
Saturday night I had one of those eye-opening, Peter Pan-inspired “Goodness gracious, I never want to grow up!” moments. They tend to happen when I am least expecting. One moment I’m feeling very adult-like and mature, and the next minute I am seriously freaking out, wanting to rewind at least five years and put off growing old forever.
It happened like this:
Saturday night, Hannah and I went ballroom dancing with a lot of our friends. My parents had heard of a concert taking place about ten minutes from our house by one of their old favorite artists. So they arranged for Ruthie to spend the night at a friends house so we wouldn’t have to stay home and babysit. They told us they probably wouldn’t be home until near midnight, so they set everything up for us to come home and go to bed by ourselves. Well, Hannah and I got home and made it into the house allright. We ate something, and sat on my bed to talk for a few minutes before going to sleep. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
We were in the middle of a good laugh when, all of the sudden, my bedroom went black. We both jumped. I thought maybe Hannah had accidentally sat on the remote for my light, but when she tried pushing it again, nothing happened. That’s when I noticed that my electric clock was black, and everything in the house was silent. Hannah and I both looked at each other. “Rachel,” she whispered, “It’s not even storming outside.”
We both gave a little squeal and grabbed each others’ arms as we ran down the dark hallway into her bedroom, where she keeps a flashlight. (She claims it’s to hit an intruder in the head should she ever get attacked in the middle of the night) Then we called Mom and Dad where I patiently explained, “Dad, the power is out. And there’s no storm.” Now, I don’t know what I was expecting in reply. Maybe something like “Oh, my goodness, you must be so scared. Don’t worry, sweetie, everything’s going to be okay. We’ll be home as soon as we can. Just be brave, okay?” Although, in retrospect, knowing my Dad, I should NOT have expected this. Anyway, instead I got: “Really? Well, make sure you get the flashlights. One’s by the phone. Oh, and don’t open the fridge. The icecream will melt. It’s almost over, so we’ll be leaving soon, anyway.”
I hung up and looked at Hannah. Her eyes were big, and she was clutching the flashlight. “What did he say?” she whispered. I shook my head. “Not to open the fridge.” This did not seem sufficient to us, so we made the decision to venture into the kitchen and grab a knife. Just in case. We remembered a horror film we’d seen a while back where some psycho cut off the power and phone lines at this house on an island before proceeding to break inside and kill everyone. We wondered if this was possibly like that scenario.
Eventually, our attempts at bravery wore down and Hannah called Mom again. She was slightly more sympathetic toward us and stayed on the line until they got home, giving us blow by blows of what road they were on and how many more miles to go. Yes, I felt very pathetic standing by the window and watching Hannah talk to Mom, but I also felt strangely comforted, too.
Well, long story short, we survived the night and the power was back on when we woke up the next morning. Neither of our parents gave us a hard time and we all sort of let it drop. But, when I was thinking about it this morning, it kind of made me smile. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not the “afraid of burglars or murders” type. I watch scary movies and TV shows without blinking. And yet, I’m still weak enough to get scared when the power shuts off in the middle of the night and my parents are away from home.
It made me think about all the young adults and single people I know out there, only a few years older than me, who live alone and deal this kind of thing somewhat frequently. And you know what? I kind of feel sorry for them. I am not the type who is longing for independence—to live by myself and be free and make my own decisions. No, I am the type who sits in the dark with a flashlight and a butcher knife, glad to have my sister by my side, and longing instead for my parents to come home and be with me.
And I hope that one day, even when I’m married and independent and making my own decisions, I still have a little bit of that type in me. To need my family’s love and support to help get me through the scary spots of life.
P.S. The best part of this story? I didn’t open the fridge, so all the icecream survived! 🙂