Once upon a time, I was a kid, just like you guys. Probably more like you guys than you will ever believe. And, as kids do, I would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and seek the solace of my parents.
Usually these things happen in the wee hours of the morning; the house is quiet and parents are enjoying the comforts of deep, well-earned sleep. However, one fateful evening, I awoke early; shortly after I had fallen asleep.
I woke with a start from my bad dream (almost always one where my mother died – the subconscious is a real bastard). I crept out of the bedroom I shared with my sister and crossed the hallway to my parent’s room. However, they weren’t in their room where they should have been; waiting to comfort me and cater to my needs at any hour of the night. How rude!
This was curious and troubling. I searched the house for them. They were not in the living room, not in the dining room, not in the kitchen. As I approached the backroom where the television flickered, I could smell betrayal: popcorn.
“What are you doing??” I cried, my nightmare forgotten. All I could think about was my parents eating popcorn and watching movies in secret. Without me!
They each jumped about a foot out of their seats. My father may have lost a few kernels of precious popcorn. Karma.
“Are you ok? What’s wrong?” They feigned compassion. I knew what was going on here.
“You’re watching movies and eating popcorn? Without me??” Some wounds cut deep. This wound left a popcorn shaped hole in my heart.
I crept back upstairs, disillusioned and craving salt, and said allowed to my bedroom and my poor, sleeping, unwitting sister, “Mom and Dad have a secret life. They keep living while we’re asleep.” And I shuddered to think what else they were hiding.
I fell back asleep and dreamt fitfully of my parents playing with all my toys and eating all of my Halloween candy. Which, now that I am a parent myself, I know to not be entirely untrue.
So, go to sleep kids. Mommy’s got her eye on that Cadbury egg you forgot about.