I received the hot pink and glittery invitation in the mail. I can’t remember my exact age, but it was a time when sleepovers consisted of crafts, a pinata, and watching Beauty and the Beast. I was officially invited to Kristie’s birthday party. Kristie was a girl from my class, and I really did like her company. However, I couldn’t stand her mother.
I looked at my mom for some guidance on whether or not to attend. She was adamant on the fact that if I RSVP’d “Yes”, I had to go. There was no backing out allowed. I called up my best friend Melanie and asked if she was going. Even at such a young age, we developed this girl code of sticking together, early signs of the “Come to the bathroom with me!”
She said she was thinking of going, only if I will. Of course, we both could have easily just said “No, I can’t” and moved on, but our brains were still developing. We both agreed that we would go to the party.
Kristie’s mother scared me. She was constantly angry about something. The wind didn’t blow right and she’d wreak havoc around town, cursing the gods, asking why the entire world was against her. I was afraid to sneeze around her just in case she’d decapitate me and stick my head on a stick and present it to the neighborhood. I often found myself in Kristie’s closet eating my own hair. She closely resembled Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I’m sure you can see now why I wasn’t keen on the idea of spending close to 15 hours in their home.
My mother dropped me off at Kristie’s house and I internally cried as I watched her slowly, or rather quickly, drive off.
I carried my sleeping bag inside while her mother yelled, “Hurry up!” She fashioned a dirty ripped t-shirt and sweatpants, which means she dressed for the occasion. I found the rest of the girls sitting on the couch, quietly staring at their hands. We were all just waiting for some direction in case she were to tase us for reaching for a party hat. Melanie finally showed up and I felt an ounce of relief. It was a long evening of Kristie opening presents and listening to her mother scream at her for grabbing a second cupcake. Not because she was health-conscious but because she felt her daughter was a tad overweight.
She was a wretched woman.
The hour of sleep approached and we crammed ourselves into Kristie’s bedroom. To our surprise, Kristie needed a nightlight, and the radio playing. Is there anyone else who can’t fall asleep to “Hit Me Baby, One More Time”? I rolled towards Melanie and she had been just as uncomfortable as everyone else the entire day/evening. Suddenly, she sat up. She bolted from the bedroom and ran to Kristie’s mother, which I felt was a bold move, and she cried that she didn’t feel well and wanted to call her mom. Fifteen minutes later, Melanie’s mom showed up at the front door to bring her home.
My first thought was, “That sneaky bitch…”
I knew damn well that Melanie wasn’t sick.
And then there was one.
Of course, my little brain thought, “I’ll do the same thing.” I began faking ill, holding my forehead like I got the black plague. I asked to call my mom. I can’t remember if I actually did, or if Kristie’s mother knew what I was up to and said “no”. Either way, I got stuck at the house listening to N’Sync and the other girls snoring.
We woke up, not fresh and not dapper, and piled into her kitchen to have breakfast. Kristie was lucky enough to have Reptar cereal.
Her mother grudgingly tossed the cereal and milk in our direction. Kristie noticed the expiration date on BOTH the cereal and milk. The cereal expired months ago. The milk had reached it’s due date by almost a week. Kristie informed her mother.
“Well, too bad! You get what you get!” she screamed from her reclining chair.
I felt like a prisoner of war sticking that expired breakfast into my mouth.
I got home and hugged my mom for seven hours.
But a few life lessons I learned along the way:
Don’t attend a party you don’t actually want to go to.
Be wary of your friends.