I’m trying to get the house cleaned up, get ready to go to the store. It’s Sunday. We leave on Wednesday for my parents’ for Thanksgiving. My phone rings. It’s my mom. I don’t want to answer. I answer anyway.
“Hey, Alice! I’m so glad I caught you, we saw the smiths last night, you won’t believe it, Jackie is coming to the party, she’s driving in…” Mom is off and running, right from the get-go.
She is talking about the Christmas Party she and her girlfriends throw every year. It’s a huge deal. They rent a hall, fill it with trees, decorations, fake snow, crafts, projects, games. It’s a catered event, and Santa comes to the party for the kids. Santa gives out a gift to each child, and it’s usually a gift that the child actually wants. They have been throwing this party since I was small. The one thing I catch her saying is that Jackie will be there. Jackie, Kenny’s sister. I don’t want to, but I have to ask.
“Will Mandy and Kenny be there, too,then?”
“Yup, uh-huh, the whole Smith family will be there, Kenny is bringing his son, and Mandy will bring her boys…”
He will be there.
I’m gone. I don’t remember the conversation. I don’t remember hanging up the phone. He will be at the party. I’m supposed to be at the party.
He will be there.
I have to hide.
I don’t know where I am.
Go, hide, escape!
In my closet, no one can find me.
I’m still coherent enough to text the nanny…..I had a panic attack.
She says she will stay late for me. Thank God.
I was supposed to go grocery shopping, clean the house. Not doing either today.
I text my friend. I think I need pull-ups for Kat. Can she loan me one from her daughter? They don’t have any, she is out and will buy a package.
I manage to leave the closet when my friend gets to the house.
“You don’t look good,” she says.
“I’m okay,” I lie. I smile.
“You aren’t,” she says.
“I’m fine. It’s just a panic attack,” I say.
“Will you call me, if you need anything? I’m worried about you.”
“Sure. I’ll call.” I say.
Back inside, I get Kat to bed. Then I go back to my closet.
I’m okay. I’m not okay. I need to hide. I have therapy tomorrow. Thank God.