I used to hang out with two older girls that lived on my street. I never truly fit in with them. They kind of made me feel like I was their little annoying sister, but they let me tag along anyways. One summer afternoon I got invited over to Sammy’s house. She told me to “Sit. Right. There!” and handed me a box of graham crackers and a flashlight. I was instructed to flash the light on the girls when they came out from the other room when the music kicked on.
I was a human spotlight who would be rewarded with graham crackers for a job well done.
The music kicked on, Sammy flew out of the room, then Mel.
No. Not like that Kimberly!
No. Not like that either
*Flash. Flashy flish flash
NO! Why are you like this? Do it —
*Crunch of the graham cracker
Give me the damn flashlight Kimberly. Like this!
Turns out I wasn’t a very good human spotlight.
Anyways, for the next forever hours I ate graham crackers and shone the light on Sammy and Mel as they flung their bodies across the room to the same damn song.
“What’s this for anyways?” I asked.
“What do you mean what’s this for?” Mel panted, sweat dripped off the tip of her nose, “This is for the talent show at school. Everybody is entering it!”
“OK. I don’t know what that means.”
“It’s a contest to see who can dance the best.” Sammy said.
I exaggeratedly nodded. “You guys are really good,” but in my head, my 7 year old head, I knew that this was an embarrassing act.
A few more runs and it was close to dinner. Sammy’s parents came down the stairs and had asked us to pack things in. “Hey you should see what we’ve been up to!” exclaimed Mel. They hummed and hawed that it was getting late but they couldn’t refuse our whines, squeals, and throwing ourselves on the carpet. Carmen, Sammy’s Dad, reached for the box of grahams that I had wedged between the couch and the wall. He tipped it over and crumbs fell out.
“They were good Carmen. Thank you, ” I said because my parents taught me all about manners.
When the music turned on, I flipped on the flashlight just like the girls showed me how.
Body parts flinging everywhere.
I watched Carmen and Connie’s faces and they were just as mortified as I expected them to be.
I held in my giggles.
When the song was done, Carmen said in his Dad voice, “Sammy and Mel, I need to speak to you in the other room please.” and I knew they were getting in shit but I didn’t know why. I mean it was a bad dance but I didn’t know you could get in shit for it.
When they came back in the other room, they were so angry and disappointed.
“We can’t do the dance. We have to pick something else.”
“It’s the song.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“You’re too young to understand OK?”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes. You. Are!”
“No. I’m. Not!”
“Kim, Papa Don’t Preach is about a girl who gets pregnant and her dad doesn’t want her to keep the baby.”
“Well that is a very mean Dad. Why doesn’t he want her to keep a baby?”
“Oh my GoOOAAAAAWWWWUUUUUUoooooDDDDD Kim, you are too young to get these things.”
And it was true. That song baffled me for years.
They never entered in the talent show and thank goodness.
I lost touch with those girls up until college.
I ran into Mel at a bar.
She was looking for people to play on her beer league volleyball team so I offered to play.
That’s where I met Shawn.
We had our 14 year wedding anniversary in September and we didn’t celebrate this year.
Sometimes I miss us when he used to pull up in his beat up Ford without the panels.
And the hardest part in our lives was choosing where we were going and what we were going to eat.
And picking paint colours.
I’m telling you, home renovations will test a marriage.
And sometimes I miss being that 7 year old.
Where the hardest part in life was remembering the exact moment when to *FLASH* the light on her friends and not having any idea what any of the song lyrics meant in any of the songs she sung out loud in the car with her mom outside of the McDonald’s when they ate french fries together after going grocery shopping.
And I miss giving zero cares about anything like I remember quizzically watching my mom waddle through the house with her pants around her ankles to get to the next bathroom in the basement for some toilet paper.
I could have asked if she needed help but my cartoons man…
So I get it now mom.
I get it now.
Being an adult is completely bullshit sometimes.