Bigfoot and My Mother
I was always a rambunctious child. I had little perception of how my actions affected those around me. When I was five years old, my mom and I lived with my grandmother in a retirement community. Since most of the residents were either approaching or already in their twilight years, there were few kids my age to play with. Occasionally some of our neighbors would have their grandchildren come to stay with them for a school break.
One of those kid’s name was Tyler. His grandparents lived in a ground floor condo, right in front of a canal. We became fast friends in the way that only children can; we played together a lot for the few weeks he was visiting. One day we decided that playing only in the daytime was just not enough. We were going to sneak out.
“Are you sure you’re going to sneak out?” I asked.
“Yeah! I’m definitely going to if you are! I doubt you will. You’ll just get all girly and scared,” Tyler challenged.
“Well if you are, then I will too,” I said, unwilling to be one-upped by a boy.
“Just knock on my window; I’ll leave my light on so you’ll know that I'm awake. This is going to be so much fun,” he assured me.
As night fell, everyone in my household went to bed. My grandmother and I went to our respective rooms and for reasons unbeknownst to me, my mother decided to sleep on the couch. I was not to be deterred. I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling for what seemed like hours waiting for them to fall asleep. I delayed as long as I possibly could endure in my childlike excitement.
Quietly I got up, snuck to my bedroom door, and peeked out into the living room at my mom. She looked like she was sleeping, but I couldn’t be sure. I’d have to get past her to make it to the front door. Inspiration hit me. I grabbed my pillow and laid down on the floor a couple feet outside my bedroom door. If my mom happened to wake up and see me, she would think I had grown restless in the summer heat and had fallen asleep there seeking relief. I felt so clever.
Minutes ticked by. I slowly crept forward with my pillow another couple of feet. It was torture to have to be so still and go so slow. Never had the front door seemed so far away. There was no way I would be able to make it without hearing the words “Jami Kristen! You are in so much trouble!” Slowly, I turned my head toward my mom; she was lying in the same position as before, still snoring. I dare not take my chances though; she might be pretending to sleep to lure me in with a false sense of security only to jump up at the last moment and ask what I was doing. I decided it would be better to play it safe. I inched my way forward a few more feet.
By now I was about halfway to the door. To entertain myself, I began fantasizing about the fun I would have with Tyler. We would ride our bikes in the dark, be able to climb on all the rocks, run up and down all the stairs, throw pebbles into the canal. Well, maybe we would stay away from the canal. It had a large wooded area on the far side of the bank that I had never been in. Thanks to the television show “Unsolved Mysteries” I knew that Big Foot was always being sighted and that space aliens liked to abduct the lone hiker in wooded areas. Not that I was scared of them, I told myself, I just wasn’t too keen on running into one.
I could wait no longer! I stood up. Never before could I remember standing so still in my
short, hyperactive life. I imagined myself as a statue and tried not to even blink as I peered through the darkness in my mom’s direction. My mother was still snoring! I made a mad dash to the front door, unlocked the dead bolt and unlatched the door lock. Quickly, before I lost my nerve, I threw open the front door and tore down the stairs. I ran eagerly around the side of the building and stopped at Tyler’s window. His bedroom light was off. “Well,” I thought, “maybe his grandparents would not allow him to leave it on.” I knocked lightly on the window. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap tap.
The window stayed dark. I became increasingly aware of how close the canal was, and by proximity, the woods that were just beyond. I could hear the slap of the water hit the bank. My overactive imagination pictured a hairy beast covered in slime and muck lurching out of the dank water to carry me off to his hut buried deep in the woods. I imagined he would reek of dirty feet that smelled like limburger cheese. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
“Tyler?” I croaked out. Tap, tap, tap. From the corner of my eye two floors up and to the right, I saw my bedroom light turn on. Uh oh. Tap, tap, tap. “Tyler?” I whispered.
I heard my mother’s panicked voice drift out of my opened bedroom window from where I was standing outside. “Jami?” The tone of her voice surprised me. She didn’t sound mad at all, just kind of scared. That was not what I intended. I loved my mom; I never wanted to scare her. With a final look to Tyler’s window and a glance over my shoulder at the canal, I turned and headed back to my house with leaden feet. I could see the silhouette of my mom tossing my bed sheets around looking for me. Oh man, I was going to be in so much trouble. I quickened my
Every day for three years at this point, I had made the long trek up and down the concrete stairwell. This time though, the distance seemed much shorter. I reached the front door and as soon as I stepped over the threshold my mom saw me. In the span of seconds, I saw panic, relief and anger flash though her eyes. She rushed over and hugged me.
“Jami Kristen! What have you been?” She demanded as she held me close.
“I just wanted to play,” I muttered, knowing then that I had been wrong to attempt this adventure. She gave me an incredulous look, “You wanted to play? Why would you think you could go outside at night? What were you thinking?”
“I just wanted to play with Tyler,” I whispered, rather pathetically. The look I had seen many times before - and would continue to see for years to come - of a weary mother who has a troublemaking, hyperactive, child crossed her face.
“You better never do that to me again! I love you, I’m so glad that you are safe, but you need to go to bed right now. What you did was wrong. We’ll have to talk about this in the morning.” Today I see the wisdom in her reaction.
The entire time I was growing up, my mom would frequently say, “I hope you have a child just like you so one day you will understand what I've had to deal with.” I am usually not one to believe in curses, but in this case, it held true. I now have a little girl who is every bit as rambunctious and mischievous as I was. To be honest, I am a little wary of her upcoming birthday this June. She will be turning five.
After the last story I posted in here, I felt the need to prove that I can indeed write with some -all be it limited- eloquence. This is a autobiographical narrative I wrote for a class I had last semester.