Tellin' a Story

January 31, 2008
By Tal Shtulsaft, East Setauket, NY

I suppose y’all are just rolling around your seats laughing like Jelly Belly’s in a jar. It’s just like Mama to go ‘round telling everyone about what happened this past weekend. Well, all I know is that when I’ve got young uns of my own, I ain’t agoing to tell folks awful embarrasin’ stories about ’em. Nope, not me; I ain’t agoing to tell when they wet their bed and it looks like ’em heavens up there opened up and rained directly down on our house. So, don’t none of you poke fun now after hearing my own silly tale; I don’t see what’s so ha-ha-hilarious about what happened.
All I did was go into Mama and Pop’s room- ’cause I’d had a scary dream- and go ’round to Mama’s side of the bed. And then I called her name real soft like and touched her fluffy red hair—the type of hair I s’pose angels would have ’cause it looks like a shiny halo—to get her attention. Well, I did that and I stood there for a long time—long enough for me to recite the ABC’s forwards and backwards three times—and still she ain’t waking up. So then I get afeard because my mama always wakes up whenever I call her name and so then I gets the notion in my head that maybe it’s not my mama in that bed! So now I’m all scared—’cause if it’s not my mama then who is it?—and I hightail outta that room like I’ve got those nasty red ants in my jammies. Gee, now you’re all are lauging yer heads off again ’cause you all knows the part that comes next. Well I’m gonna say it anyways ’cause Granny always says it’s better to get things offa your chest.
So I run outta that room and I start thinking to myself that maybe Mama and Pop are in the basement ’cause that’s where Granny and Grandpop always stay when they’re visitering. ’Cept the only problem with that plan is that it’s pitch dark—’cause there ain’t no nightlites like the one in my room—and I can’t see for nothing. So I finally make it down them stairs, and right about then I’m feeling real nervous, like a scary monster’s gonna jump out and frighten me. So I wrap my arms ’round my tummy and take tiny steps. “Mama?” I call out, but not real loudly ’cause my throat’s all tight and icky feeling ’cause I’m so afreard. Mama don’t answer so I walk a little farther in the basement. But like I says before, it’s so, so dark down there and I can barely breathe ’cause I just know there’s some spooky things that’re just waiting for me. I shiver at the thought of spiders or bad guys and I call out again, “Mama?” Nothing. So I see a door and then I’m real happy ’cause that must be the bedroom where Mama and Pop are sleeping!
I open the door and walk in but the cold tiles under my feet tell me that this ain’t the bedroom but the bathroom. I turn to get out of there but the doorknob is locked! I try turning it again but it’s locked and it ain’t opening and now my throat hurts awful bad and so does my tummy and all I want is my Mama but the darn door ain’t opening and now I’m crying and screaming, “Mama! Mama! Pop! Mamaaa!” I scream that for the longest time ’cause I’m so scared of being alone in the dark by myself and I reckon what if Mama and Pop did this pupose-like and they don’t love me and they’re leaving me here in the dark bathroom for good and I’ll be stuck here for all my life and I won’t have anything to eat. And I’m so, so tired now and I rub my eyes and lie down on the floor, sucking my thumb. But the floor is real cold on account of the tiles so I take the bathroom rug and I pull it over me and tuck my legs into my tummy. And I goes to sleep awful scared with only the moonlight pouring through the bathroom window watching over me.
Now at this point you’re probably thinking I’m the dumbest girl and I think so too but I ain’t ashamed of what happened so I’m gonna keep right on telling the story. So I sleeped on that cold floor the whole night with only that rug to keep me warm—and I tell you, it ain’t done a very good job. I’m sleeping and sleeping when I hear my name being called real frantic like. “Tal!” Pop calls and it sounds to me llike he’s gonna throw up any second. “Pop!” I call back and I then I realize my voice ain’t that loud ’cause it feels like somebody stuck knives down my throat after crying all night. So I call again, louder, “Pop!” and then there’s a pause and Pop’s voice comes again, “Tal! Are you down in the basement?” and I think that’s a silly question ’cause obviously I’m right here and here is where my voice is coming from. But says I, yeah, yeah I’m down here and I hear Pop and Mama coming down the stairs calling my name. I yell at them that I’m in the bathroom and they open the door—hey! It turns out the door warn’t locked after all—and Mama grabs me in her arms and I’m real happy to se her ’cause this means they warn’t trying to leave me.
I’m awful tired after that and it’s all I can do eating my Cheerios without falling right to sleep. I hear Mama calling Grany, telling her I’m ok and that I warn’t “abdicated”. Well, I don’t know what that means but if it means running away I think that’s the silliest thing Mama could ever think ’cause why would I run away when I was trying to find her all night?
That there’s my story and it took lots of courage for me to say it but I done it and I reckon Granny’s right ’cause I do feel better saying it. And last night when I had another scary dream, I just told it to shove off ’cause getting outta bed just ain’t worth it. I done it before.

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