I tucked my fuzzy pajama covered knees beneath my chin, wrapping my arms around them, hugging them close. I rocked back and forth a bit staring longingly at the sleek dark finish of the bedroom door.
“I won’t cry! I won’t!” I whispered to myself as tears threatened, brimming and pooling at the corners of my eyes. I dashed them aside with my grubby hand. I could hear them, laughing and giggling, their sounds muted by the closed door and the distance of the hall. I could picture them sprawled across the floor munching on their popcorn and laughing over their silly poses on the slides. I saw the slide of my brother in my mind, his hands placed upon his cheeks in a surprised “Oh!” and laughter in his eyes as he stood below a waterfall in naught but his underwear. Oh, how we giggled and laughed at that one. The water splashed off his elbows scattering in disarray, with the brown rock behind him. I heard a burst of laughter, no doubt my sister, and I hugged my knees tighter. “I won’t cry!” I whispered fiercely as I unfolded my little body and crawled into bed.
Only when the covers were yanked over my head did I let myself dissolve into a heap of gut wrenching sobs. Mother had said, “Go to bed.” But I wanted to be with the family. I hadn’t been bad had I? My crying softened and I heard someone at my door. A soft tap and the slight creek as it opened, followed by quiet footsteps. I felt the covers slip over my sodden hair and I looked up into my Mother’s worried eyes.
“What’s wrong? Why didn’t you come out?” She asked.
“You … said … I had to go … to … bed,” I gasped as the sobs threatened another act of piracy. I looked into my Mother’s astonished face as it crumbled into compassion.
“Oh, darling, I said to get ready for bed,” she whispered as she gathered me into her arms.
I turned my tear-streaked cheeks up to gaze into her face, a glimmer of hope in my eyes. “Then, I’m not in trouble?
”I can come out and watch slides?”
My tears forgotten I scrambled out of bed and followed my mother out the door, leaving them to dry.