Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sleepover

Saturday night and we made it a point to stay up all night.  Not because there was stuff to do all night, and not because we couldn’t sleep, but simply because it was a sleepover and that’s just what you do.  The irony of this was something I often pointed out to others when I wasn’t invited to sleepovers.  But if we’re being honest here, staying up all night was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me… when it wasn’t happening to me.

So when I finally got the invite to tag along to Suzie Jenkins’ house with my best friend Zoë I was blissful.  This was it- my chance to finally see what the other girls were doing on the weekends while I was home with my parents learning how to play scrabble.  I admit that it was exciting when I ended up with a double word score but a little part of me died every time my father reminded me of how much I was learning every time we played.  Learning is just not something a normal, healthy kid should be doing on a Saturday night.

I had brought extra supplies, preparing like a soldier about to go off to war.  Energy bars, Red Bull, even caffeine pills I’d snuck out of my brother’s dresser when he was out doing whatever awesome things he does that he will never, ever invite me to.  Jerk.  I brought my favorite board games, my cutest teddy bear and my only sleeping bag.  I wore the pajamas with the large cartoon lion face on the shirt which matches the little rainbow colored prints on the pants.  And I asked my mom to drop me off rather than walking me to the door.  Cause, you know, that’s a little girl thing to do.

The house looked like a mansion with more windows than I could easily count and a giant stone walkway up to double doors with intricate patterns on the windows.  I felt like Dorothy stepping out of her newly wrecked house, but I could have used just as much courage as the lion needed.  When she answered the door, Stacey Jenkins looked ridiculously gorgeous given the planned activities for the evening, and the lack of cute boys.  But that fit perfectly with the mansion in the private cull-de-sack with the huge windows and- was that a pool in back?

She smiled at me and said how overjoyed she was that I could come (which was so clearly not true because the only reason she’d let me come was because she and Zoë were in swimming classes together) and invited me in.  The inside of the house was like an opera house with stairs on either side of a circular wall leading up to a balcony on the second floor and a giant chandelier hanging overhead.  Everything was light and dreamy and rich and I felt terribly out of place.

But then Zoë ran in laughing and jumping, accompanied by several other girls who I’d only ever admired from afar.  I don’t know if it was the light or the way they’d started doing her hair but she looked like one of them, as if she’d belonged there all along and had been visiting my world.  She sang my name rather than saying it and hugged me as if that were how we always greeted each other.  I held onto her, scared to let go.

Then Rachel Gibbons said how pretty my hair was- my absurdly thick, horse-like hair- and how jealous she was.  I didn’t know what to say.  It had never occurred to me that my hair could be considered pretty, especially in comparison to the other girls with their delicate curls or natural blond color.  I managed to mutter a thanks and kept the smile plastered on my face as if my life depended on it.  My mother’s voice always telling me to smile finally coming in handy.

Stacey Jenkins smiled at me and it made me freeze.  There was something about that smile that looked strangely like the face my dog- Buster, a husky-lab mix who shed all over our house- made before he chased my poor cat Chelsea around the yard.  She said that she had a great idea and looked at the other girls as if sharing a secret.  Then in unison, as if they had practiced, they all squealed “Makeover!” and Suzie took me by the hand, as if that were a normal thing to do, and pulled me into the living room.

I felt the same way I did when we went water tubing and I was pulled off course by the heavy current, and went down the wrong fork in the river.

17 comments:

  1. Oh no, was she the planned entertainment? Yikes.

    I hated staying up all night. Still do.

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  2. Yikes! I'd be a little worried, too. :)

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  3. I'm only good at faking comfort with letting people alter my identity. I can feel for her.

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  4. somehow the whole sleep-over thing seems a tad different for little boys than little girls! :-)

    marc nash

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    1. I didn't even know little boys did sleepovers- I thought it was a girl thing.

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  5. I've seen worse, although I hope they're going to try to actually pretty her up. I've hosted sleepovers where someone falls asleep early, and MAKEOVER! If you consider a clown face to be a makeover.

    I like that metaphor in conclusion. She's way out of her depth; let's just hope Zoe is going to help out.

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  6. Wow. This gave me an immediate flashback to when a mean girl invited me to her sleepover (or mothers were best friends; we were not). When I got up in the morning to use the washroom, they poured water into my sleeping bag and tried to claim I'd wet myself during the night.

    Great depiction of the hell that is adolescent girl politics.

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    1. Yeah, I once had girls do the old 'fingers in warm water while you're sleeping will make you pee' trick on me. It didn't work, so they got a bigger bowl and warmer water but when the girl tried to make her way her through the maze of sleeping bags she tripped and dumped the whole bowl all over me. Quite the rude awakening. Girls can be so cruel.

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  7. I like the way you showed her excitement about the sleepover turning into a nightmare. I hope she makes it through OK. :)

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  8. Fuuny how things change - when I was a kid, staying up all nite was awesome. In college, it usually meant cramming which was a combo of excitement/adrenaline/junk food. Now that I'm "over the hill", staying up all nite is just plain torture and I dream of vacations where I can go to bed at 9:00PM.
    As far as sleepovers,the big thing was to sneak out. But once out, there was never much to do but no one wanted to admit that it was boring.

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    1. I think we snuck out of two sleepovers- both when I was a teenager. One time we just went to the playground in the park and hung out (which, as you said, was pretty boring) and one time we actually got a ride (I think one of my friend's older brothers) to the reservoir and sat on the dam. Which again, was exciting and rebellious on the way there, sort-of boring once we got there.

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  9. Fantastic atmosphere and pace here Bev, you've got the joy-then-terror feeling downpat.
    Yes, boys do sleepovers (I have a 14 and a 16 year old sons) and though they have different activities (marathon video gaming, airsoft wars, etc), they too stay up all night and the teenage pranks and angst are not so different.

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    1. Knowing what I know of boys, that makes perfect sense. I feel kind-of silly for not logic-ing that out myself. Thanks for filling me in on the other side of it, guys!

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  10. Am I the only one who wants to know which board games she took with her? ;-)

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  11. Poor girl, sometimes people are not what you think they are.

    I think I spotted a typo for you - 'I held onto her, scarred to let go.' Did you mean scared?

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    1. Yes, I did- thanks for spotting that, Helen!

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  12. I had a really horrible feeling they were going to make fun of her pajamas, or her teddy bear - she seems a lot 'younger' than the rest of them, and having been in the position of never getting invited to such things, and having a different idea of the world, I really did worry for her.

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