In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All Grown Up.”
Behind the solid wooden door she could hear the laughter of her parents, their friends, the clinking of glasses as they accidentally knocked each other on the small round card table. She had vowed to stay awake, although with her eyes feeling heavy, she could hardly remember why.
They had been shuffled down to this end of the house much earlier in the night. She had tucked her little brother into bed, read him a story (or rather told him a story as she was tired of reading the same books), and pretended to sleep. When she was sure her brother and sister were sleeping, she had clutched her blanket around her and snuck into her parents bedroom. The wall of their room was shared with the living area, the area that was so full of life right now. The area that was full of the mysteries of being all grown up.
That was something she had dreamt of being. A grown up. At only eleven she was tall for her age. Often mistaken for fifteen. She was proud to be seen, and sometimes not seen as she turned invisible during adult conversations. She was trusted with grown up duties. She felt superior among her siblings.
As she sat there with her ear pressed up against the wall, she could not wait to be just like her parents. She could not wait to be “All Grown up”.
On the other side of the wall her parents made eye contact as the last drop was squeezed from the last bottle. Through the laughter, they silently shared a look. A look that hung for a moment.
This would be the last drink that they could afford for the month. The bills were due, their youngest needed shoes, the car was in a desperate need of new tyres and a service. She would take extra shifts, two more nights. He would work longer hours. They would get past this. It was only temporary. Things would improve.
He shuffled the cards while she let out a hearty laugh at something her friend had said.
Her eyes got heavier as she pulled her blanket closer and dreamt of being older…