This morning I asked my husband what he would write about if this was his topic. He said, "I'd talk about the war in Afghanistan."
"What, my darling, does that have to do with dead babysitters?"
"Well, it's something that no-one talks about, a big secret."
Now as I sit here talking I can't remember if he was of the mind we would win or lose in Afghanistan. All I remember is that his interpretation of this theme was 'cover-up.'
So I thought I'd run with that.
When I was a kid, we rarely had babysitters. In fact I don't particularly remember anyone coming over to tend us.
Mainly this was because my mom and dad never went out together, but also I think my parents just figured we could take care of ourselves (it was way back when the world was safe).
Well, since kids are kids, it was inevitable that we would get ourselves into trouble.
Boy were we good at that, we lit things on fire and dropped them off our deck. We jumped from the loft onto the couch on the floor below. We used an entire roll of Polaroid's taking pictures of the cat. We rolled cars down the driveway. We got in trouble... frequently.
The worst thing I ever did, however, was try to use my brothers B-B Gun. I've never quite been comfortable with guns since then.
So here's how it went (as far as I can recall), my parents were gone, my brother was off doing something and my sister and I were alone.
I was about 8 she was around 4. I imagine it was my idea, being the oldest--and very much the instigator between the two of us--but I can't remember exactly how we ended up with the gun. I don't even remember how it ended up pressed firmly against the sliding glass door. All I really remember is thinking that I had the safety on as I pulled the trigger.
I didn't have the safety on.
My heart nearly stopped beating and in the half a second it takes for a bullet to go from a gun into it's intended target I experienced one of my first ever 'rewind moments' (when you immediately want to rewind and take back what you just did).
The glass shattered... into a million tiny pieces smaller than a fingernail.
Time stood still, I waited for the glass to tumble to the ground, but it stayed in the door frame. My sister breathed something like, "Uh-Oh."
I remember my young life flashing before my eyes. Dad was going to kill me for sure.
How do you hide such a thing?! How do you keep your parents from noticing that their door is... you know... gone?
Well, I'll tell you what doesn't work, shutting the curtains.
Nor is it a good idea to pretend the tiny sparkles all over the window are water droplets from the rain.
Another tactic to not use is to turn on your little sister and blame her. Especially when she's four.
Or trying to lay the guilt at your older brothers feet for leaving his b-b gun out in the first place.
Nope, not good methods of a cover-up, and not very good ways to get allies either.
I didn't die, but that door stayed like that for eight whole years. When I was 16 my mom remodeled the house and finally, blessedly, gratefully removed the evidence of my utter stupidity.
I don't think the b-b gun survived though and I don't think my siblings have ever quite forgotten my betrayal.
Whenever the door comes up the first thing my sister says is 'Remember how you turned on me and yelled, What did you do to the door!?'
Yes, I remember.
Whenever I happen to be holding a gun in my hands (which is infrequent) I might find myself receiving a comment like, "Now make sure the safety's where you want it to be. Oh, and red doesn't mean it's on."
Yes, yes, how could I forget.
The biggest result of my actions of twenty years ago is that I'm always sure to get a babysitter when I leave my house, because I don't want to come home and find out what my children are really capable of.