Note: All lyrics/writing is mine unless otherwise stated. I do not own Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap.
Spin me round again
And rub my eyes,
This can't be happening
Spring was the time when I could escape. I would run and run in the fields searching for something to hide me. From anything. The time when snow melted and it smelt like everything was alive on the earth again. My dream was to get away from There. I would hide by the creek that connected the neighboring houses in the small town in Idaho where I lived. Swimming in that little body of water kept me sane. It made me feel like I could do anything. It recharged me when the biggest, coldest glass of lemonade couldn't on a hot spring day. Many times I would camp down there so no one would be able to find me. When the worst times in my life were happening I would run down to the creek, strip down and jump into the water, trying to hold my breath for minutes at a time to escape everything above the surface. I was my own friend, my own partner. I would make up stories as I played on the dock that stretched into the water. The only other person I trusted was my best friend. He seemed to understand me and everything that was going on around me. He was my age, he was smart and funny, and he made me feel better when somehow the creek and no one else could.
My heart pounded from the nervousness I felt as I watched him walk up the driveway. He had gone out to drink with a couple of his buddies which I knew wasn't a good sign. To make things worse, he told me to make sure my room was clean by the time he got home but I had completely forgotten about it. I knew what he would do I just didn't know how he would do it. My breathing became heavier as he opened the door to step inside from the rain that poured down on top of him as he walked. I was looking through the window in my upstairs bedroom that looked over the front of the house. "I'm home!" he yelled through the house as he shut the door. I jumped from the sound and slowly moved from the window, out of my room, and to the stairs.
"I'm up here," I said trying to hide the fear in my voice.
"What have you been doin?" he asked walking to the bottom of the stairs to see my face at the top.
I hesitated for a moment for something to say. "I got my homework done, and I played a little," I forced a smile at him.
"Come down here, honey. I'll teach you how to make dinner."
I nodded and quickly came down the stairs, stopping to give him a hug around his waist.
He smiled down at me faintly and took my hand, as I pulled away from our hug, to lead me into the kitchen.
"What do you want to eat, daddy?" I asked my crooked smile showing as I looked up at him.
"I'll show you how to make my favorite. Pasta."
"Okay!" I said eagerly.
He gave a low chuckle to my response and started to pull items from the cupboards and pantry. All the ingredients sat out on the counter when he was finished. "First you need to boil some water." He took a pot from the counter and filled it with water, then placed it on a burner. I sat on the counter next to the ingredients and watched him. There was a silence that fell upon us as the water started to heat up.
"My birthday's next week," I said, my eyes not yet meeting his as he leaned up against the counter next to me.
"I know," he muttered.
"Are we gonna do anything?" I asked looking up at him.
He stared at a spot on the floor in front of him then shrugged. He thought for another minute before speaking. "Did you ever clean your room?"
I gulped. "No," I said quietly.
"And why the hell not?" he asked, his voice a little louder.
I flinched and he turned to look at me. "I… I forgot."
He smirked. "You forgot." He wiped his nose and sniffled as he walked toward the fridge. He pulled out a beer can and cracked it open then took a sip.
"I'm sorry," I muttered. I didn't dare to look at him, knowing he was staring at me. It was amazing how he went from one mood to the next with just a few words spoken.
He sighed. Suddenly he threw his beer against the wall on the opposite side of the kitchen, scaring my eight-year-old heart half to death. He opened the fridge again and grabbed a jar of jam from the door. He threw that up against the wall as well, making it shatter and stain across it, the off white wall suddenly receiving a splatter of color. "Can't clean your room," he muttered as he threw something else in that direction without turning around, "Clean this." He almost moved the whole contents of the fridge on the floor before slamming the door closed, making it shake. I felt tears roll down my cheeks but I didn't make a sound, I just watched as he got angry. "Now you can clean this and your room," he said in a low, angry voice. He walked toward me and my eyes shifted away from him. He grabbed my face with one hand and forced my eyes to meet his. "Every, single, crumb or spot needs to be clean, ya hear? Or else," he threatened. He grabbed my arm and jerked me off the counter then pushed me to the floor. I yelled in pain as my bare knees hit the hardwood floor. "I'll be back in an hour." He watched me for a minute before turning to walk into the living room then out the front door and into the rain again.
I didn't care where he was going, I was just glad he was gone. I tried my best to clean all the broken glass up from the floor naively. My little hands started to pick every piece up from the floor. "Ouch!" I yelled. My hand started to shed blood and some glass fell from my hand to the floor. I looked at a long cut that now appeared on my hand. I started to cry again from the pain of the cut and the overwhelming mess that was almost clean from the floor. With the other hand I picked up all the glass and threw it into the trashcan. With a kitchen cleaner I sprayed the stain of jam on the wall and everything else that was on the floor so it would wipe away easily. The cleaner stung my hand and I tried to ignore it so I could finish cleaning. I looked at the clock on the wall. The time flew by fast and I realized I had only a short time left before he would be back. I needed to get everything done. I wiped up the mess quickly, leaving no trace that a mess ever being there and ran upstairs to my room. All I needed to do was make my bed and pick up clothes for it to be spotless once again.
My hand was still bleeding. It trailed from my hand, down my forearm, to my elbow. I needed to stop the bleeding before cleaning anything else, afraid I would leave blood to stain my sheets or clothes, which would only leave more of a mess. I hurried into the bathroom and rinsed the blood away from my arm. I wrapped a small washcloth around my hand, not knowing what else to do about the cut. I had never been taught how to treat one before. I was almost done putting the pillows back on the bed after making it when I heard the front door open and close downstairs. Oh no! I quickly picked up my clothes and threw them into the laundry basket in the corner of the room. I soon heard footsteps walking up the stairs. My heart pounded and I stood in the middle of the room, breathing heavily from fear as he walked into the doorway. He looked around the room then walked toward me and grabbed my forearm with a tug. He led me with force down the stairs and into the kitchen again where I saw the boiling pot bubbling over the edge. "You've ruined my dinner," he said angrily. He put his hand on my back and pushed me toward the stove. "Turn it off," he ordered. I quickly turned the burner off and stared at the pot as the bubbles went back down into it. "Upstairs," he muttered. I turned quickly and walked out of the kitchen to do as he said.
Once I reached my room I decided I couldn't stay there that night. I was supposed to meet my best friend out back in a half hour to go down to the creek. Hopefully my dad would be passed out in his room by then, but if not, I knew my friend would wait for me until he knew I was okay. I sat on my bed and fought tears from coming to my eyes for the whole half hour. It was the longest thirty minutes of my life and I thought it would never end, until I head a familiar sound. I heard him walk with heavy feet up the stairs, then into his room and lock the door behind him, so I knew he was going to sleep.
I snuck through my door and down the stairs as quietly as I could, scared that he would come out of his room and find me sneaking out. I checked behind me every couple seconds as an extra precaution. Making my way through the kitchen and to the sliding door that led to the backyard, I unlocked it I slid it open slowly so it wouldn't make much noise. When a small crack was big enough for me to fit through I squeezed through it and shut the door quietly behind me. I half-ran to the fence to find the opening that led to the place I would meet him. As I snuck through the hole in the fence I saw a pair of feet on the other side waiting for me. "Took you long enough," the boy's voice said.
I sighed. "Sorry."
"It's okay. Where were you?"
"My dad was bein' mean." I glanced down at my hand that still had a washcloth wrapped around it.
He looked down at my hand and gasped. "What happened?"
"I cut my hand," I said quietly.
"Let me see," he said reaching his hand out for mine. I put my hand in his and he slowly took off the cloth that covered it. "This looks bad."
"It does?" I asked innocently.
He nodded. "Yeah. –We should clean it. How did you cut it?"
"On a piece of glass."
"I have stuff in my bag to clean it with. I'll show you what to do when we get down there." He picked up his bag of things and held my other hand as we walked down to the creek together.
He would always bring a bag of supplies for when we played at the creek when it was dark. He brought blankets, a first aid kit, and a tent just in case we decided to camp out on the dock. "Where were you at lunch today? I couldn't find you," he asked curiously as we walked.
"I got in trouble so I had to stay inside," I said coyly.
"How did you get in trouble?"
"I threw a piece of paper at someone sitting in front of me."
He laughed. "Why?"
"Cause they were bothering me."
He looked at me with a smile. "You would."
"What? It's true," I said smiling back at him.
"Did they have to call your dad?"
"No," I said shaking my head, "I hope they don't."
When we arrived at the creek the moon shone down on the water, reflecting off the peaceful surface. We walked down the dock and sat facing each other. He took the first aid kit out of his bag and opened it. "I need to check if there's glass in it," he said turning on a flashlight to see in the darkness.
"What if there is?" I asked nervously.
"Then I need to take it out."
I pulled my hand away quickly and shook my head. "I don't want you to. It's going to hurt."
He took my hand gently again and I hesitated. "I just need to check to see if there is, Lizzy. There might not be any in there—it'll be fine, I promise."
I sighed then nodded and watched while he examined it. "Is there glass in it?"
"Um…" he said looking closer, "No I don't think so." He opened the first aid kit and took out two little packets of alcohol. "Now we just have to clean it. This might sting a little." He tore open a packet and rubbed it over the cut.
I winched slightly at the pain. "Why does it stink when you put it on?"
"It's fighting all the bad germs in the cut that are trying to hurt you," he said looking at me with a smile, "They're at war with each other."
I imagined tiny germs fighting against each other and the bad germs dying off slowly as it stung. "When it stops stinging how do you know if the bad germs are all gone?"
"Because if it stops stinging that's a sign that the good germs killed all of the bad ones, if it still stings that means they didn't kill all the bad ones."
"Oh," I said in wonder. The stinging started to die down, making me feel better about it being fully clean and harmless. "What do you do now?"
"We put some more medicine on it then protect it with a band-aid."
I nodded and watched as he pulled out a tube of ointment. He spread some over the wound and took out a large band-aid to cover it. Once he was all done I smiled. "Thank you."
"Now you know what to do next time you get hurt," he smiled, "—are we sleeping down here tonight?"
"Oh yeah, can we?" I asked anxiously.
"Sure," he shrugged, "I'll set up the tent –oh and you might not want to go swimming with that cut. There could be more bad germs in the water."
I frowned. "Dangit."
He laughed. "We can check it out in a couple of days."
"Okay," I shrugged. I walked over to help him with the tent.
When we were finished we put some blankets inside to lie on. We lied down next to each other and looked through the top of the tent to the stars. "Where do you think my mom is right now?" I asked him as I looked up at the sky.
"I don't know," he said honestly, "But I think she misses you an awful lot."
I sighed. "I can't even tell what she looks like anymore… is that bad?"
He shook his head. "No, you just can't remember because she's been gone for so long."
"Do you think I'll ever see her again?"
"I don't know. But I know you will."
"Do you think she left because she didn't want me?"
"Not at all."
"Then why would she leave?" I asked turning to look at him.
His eyes stayed on the sky as he thought. "I don't know, Lizzy. I wish I knew why people do things like that but I don't."
I sighed with impatience. "I wish I knew too."
We both went silent as our eyes slowly closed from looking up at the stars. Each of us drifted off at separate times and we held each others hands. We didn't want to let go of that moment, true friends lying underneath the stars together, being young and free.
This is the first time I've actually published any writing on this site. I hope you enjoy and give reviews to anything you like or dislike. Thank you for reading!