One Dark and Stormy Night
It was a dark and stormy night. No, wait a minute! It really was. It was raining cats and dogs that cold dark evening. I was huddled underneath a wooden set of steps, trying to keep dry and warm while other kids walked on into the building.
What, pray tell, was I doing in such a predicament? Why wasn’t I home nice, dry and warm instead of outside freezing to death? Well, let me start from the beginning.
It was the night before my 13th birthday…the day I would officially become a full-fledged, bona fide, teenager. That’s an important mile stone for any kid. I was outside because this was the Community Teen Club and you had to be 13 to get in. What’s the use of having a club if you can’t keep other people out, right?
What was so important about getting into the club on this particular night? Nothing really, except that’s where my older brother Tom was. We had grown up doing everything together. Now that he was a teenager he hung out more with our sister, who was the oldest. No sir…I didn’t like it at all! She couldn’t even throw a baseball straight, much less hit one. Why did he want to hang out with her for anyway?
Tom was sort of my role model as I was growing up and I wanted to be like him. I emulated almost everything he did. I combed my hair and dressed like him, (usually because I swiped his shirts) and even tried to walk like he did. I wanted to wear the same type of sharp looking boots he bought. He was a classy dresser, muscularly built and the girls obviously thought he was good looking.
However, those are not the reasons I was under the steps. He was also my best friend, and he had abandoned me. Mom had tried to explain how Tom was getting older and needed to be with people more his age. But I didn’t understand. He was only 11 months older than me.
So, that night I slipped out to the teen center, hoping I’d be able to get in since it was only just a few hours before I turned the magic number. But they weren’t going to budge. Rules were rules and they didn’t want to lose their jobs. And now, there I was, soaked and shivering in the cold. Somehow, someway I was going to get inside. It just wasn’t fair.
I slipped around the back and as luck would have it, one of the employees had stepped outside for a quick smoke break. As he went back in, I noticed the door didn’t quite close all the way. “Eureka!” I said to myself. This was my chance.
I peeked through the crack and saw the hallway clear. Then, I was in…unnoticed. I went to the coat room and hung up my dripping jacket then went to find Tom. I heard the juke box blaring out rock and roll music over the clack of billiard balls in the next room. That’s where he’d be, I thought. Tom was a good pool player. Sure enough, there he was. Sis was occupied doing the latest dance step, which at that time was “The Swim”. (Weren’t we all nuts back then?)
Tom looked up from his pool game and shot a surprised glance at me. But he didn’t say anything. He knew how bad I had wanted to tag along that evening.
I began to warm up and dry out a little so I sat down and watched him play. I didn’t need to play or do anything, just as long as I was included.
It hadn’t dawned on me the hour was beginning to get a little late. It was almost 9 p.m. I was going to catch heck from our parents if I didn’t get home. The place closed at 9:30 anyway.
However, the room had gotten packed with Tom playing the local champ and I couldn’t get out the door. So, I jumped up on a cabinet to get around. That was the last thing I remember before waking up on the floor with everybody looking at me.
My mouth hurt and as I touched my lip my hand came away all bloody. It seems when I jumped up to the cabinet my shoe slipped on some cola someone had spilled. Down I went face first. My mouth hit a cabinet corner, knocking a tooth out. It put a hole through my lip and rendered me unconscious. I guess trying to be inconspicuous was out of the question now.
I wasn’t hurt bad though…mostly just embarrassed. My parents punished me with one month restriction from going to the teen center. But that was alright. I was now officially a full fledged, bona fide teenager and old enough to hang out with my best friend.