heavy on the party, light on the slumber

I insisted on having a slumber party for my seventh birthday.

It seems a bit young to me, looking back on it, and I do recall my parents initially (entirely? always?) vowing to staunchly oppose the pitch with all their adult powers. But eventually my incessant whining broke them down, or maybe they thought that if they gave in this once, my strange desire to always act a little older than I was would somehow fade with the closing of 1992.

(Note: it did not.)

I remember two things from that birthday party, one specific and one general.

The specific, unsurprisingly, is the food. I insisted on serving a breakfast that included both cinnabons, carted in from the mall that very morning, and bagels and lox, so as to please any carb-loving palate, sweet or savory. (Or, actually, to please my palate, which was simply unending. I had one of each.)

The general memory is that the whole thing was a disaster.

Maybe girls had to go home? Definitely girls were crying. Maybe girls wouldn’t go to sleep? Definitely certain girls had to moved into another room down the hall, for some as of now unidentified reason. I can’t recall what actually transpired, but I am still, to this day, left with a very sharp, very distinct feeling that I attach to that occasion, and the theme of that feeling, is: disaster!

Which, as it so happens, is the very same feeling I experienced on Saturday night when we hosted Francine’s first sleepover.

Madeline, a poodle who lives upstairs and is Francine’s closest non-lesbian buddy (they’re just friends guys!), was staying with us while her parents enjoyed a much-deserved wedding anniversary weekend away in Boston. (Five years; it boggles the mind…I mean, forever isn’t long enough with you, D!)

Everything was going fine, great even – we left them alone in the apartment together for the first time ever and came back to a building that was still standing. They both were well-behaved on their walks.

Then came bedtime.

Somehow, after hours of play, they were still jumping, biting, doing all those other things that dogs do during the day at a play date, but at 11:30 p.m. We positioned their respective beds in opposite corners of the room. We turned off the light. We lay in our bed, quietly, unmoving. They would not follow suit.

“They’ll stop soon, I’m sure,” I said to Dave, giggling.

They did not.

We moved them to the other room, still giggling, ok with the idea of giving them a night alone, to do whatever two dogs do when unsupervised. (Again, just two spayed friends, so no pregnancy or even UTI worries here. Francine already has one lesbian lover, thankyouverymuch.)

Madeline started howling at the door every time someone stepped off the elevator and walked past our apartment door.

We stopped giggling.

She did not stop howling.

We ushered Maddy into our room and left Francine in the living room.

A few hours later, we awoke to the sound of Francine crying on one side of the door, Maddy standing up by the other side, trying to communicate in some sort of weird puppy Morse code with her paws.

At that point, Dave, who was on his one day off this week, had had enough. He insisted Maddy couldn’t stay the rest of the night.

He grabbed the dog and her bed – an old blue comforter she loves – and marched her out of the apartment.

It looked just like he was carrying a sleeping bag.

My heart broke.

But, you know, I like sleep too.

The next morning, Dave retrieved her, safe and sound. I ate leftover buttermilk cupcakes at the kitchen table.

They were far too sweet of a breakfast for a 27-year old who should know better. But they were delicious.

And I hope they’re the exact detail that I remember years from now, even if the feeling tagged to the memory is altogether different.

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