At some point it has to stop. I mean, really, it can’t go on forever. Can it?
In exasperation, I grab the glass of wine. Then I think twice and slip the bottle under my arm too. If this is how it has to be, then I’m not going out ‘dry’.
The only thing for it is to hide, and so I am off to find a place they can’t find me.
The kitchen is a definite no-no. As is the living room. Anywhere near a television or food will see me located and mercilessly tortured again for….(glancing down at my watch to see the time)….another 2 hours. Dear God, I couldn’t take it. Not another two hours.
Feeling the lump rise in my throat, I decide it’s now or never. Run or dissolve into a mess of tears and desperation, destined to be heard and found and subjected to further torturous punishment.
My senses are on hyper-drive. My muscles are tensed in anticipation. My stomach is a mess of knots (what a shame that doesn’t show on the outside by way of a taut midriff). I can’t be beyond salvation just yet, as my sarcasm is still intact. A glimmer of hope.
As I hear the mob turning on each other, I realise this is my moment to flee. It’s a sort of Lord of The Flies moment in there, as they all fight for supremacy. This is my moment to dash past them and up the stairs without being seen.
I spring out of the laundry cupboard. It has been my sanctuary for the past 15 minutes or more, but I fear alerting them to my location by bumping something or knocking something out of the tiny space that I am sharing with a vacuum, broom and ironing board. It is just too small to hold me for the next two hours until help arrives.
I skoll the contents of the wine glass, rather than risk sloshing it all over the floor in my panic to flee, leaving a path of red drops to alert my captors to my location. Glancing at the bottle under my arm, I realise it is almost empty.
Panic sets in, and my stomach turns to lead. It is a split second decision, but I make a mad dash to the pantry, scrambling to the top for another bottle of wine. Feeling the cool glass I burst back out into the open kitchen, like a caged animal about to make a bid for freedom.
Actually, a lot like a caged animal about to make a bid for freedom.
I can hear the civil war continuing, and I know that it is only a matter of time before one or all of them remember me and come for me. And so I run. I run as if my life depends on it. It feels as if I am going faster than is humanly possible, and yet, the room is moving painfully slowly past my eyes as I make my way to the stairs and scramble up two at a time.
Once I am at the top of the stairs, I round the corner and drop to my knees. I am breathing hard, through fear and bone idle laziness that means I am not accustomed to this sort strenuous activity. Trying to hear for footsteps on the stairs over the sound of my pounding heart and laboured breathing is driving me crazy and making me dizzy at the same time. After a few seconds that feel like forever, I realise that I have made it.
They didn’t see me. They are not coming for me.
And so I turn to decide on the best hiding place. My safe haven for the next…(checking my watch again)…1 hour and 53 minutes. The last 7 minutes have felt like hours. Which makes me doubt my ability to survive the rest of the time until help arrives.
Pushing that thought out of my mind, I assess my options. The bedrooms, they are useless. That’s the first place anyone would look. The bathroom, also useless because the door doesn’t lock. And they know I have valuables in there, so it wouldn’t take long for them to come looking.
There is only one option. The toilet.
And so I hurry in. My heart is still pounding, and I feel like I can’t breathe for fear of alerting them to my location by the laboured breaths I am trying to suppress. Fearing I am on the verge of hyperventilating, I divert my attention to the wine. When all else fails, that will calm my nerves and steady me.
No! No no no no no no no!
It’s a bloody cork top, not a screw top!
This is the final straw. I just can’t go on. It’s futile. I am resigned to my destiny.
And so it is with a heavy and defeated heart that I slowly open the door, ready to face my fate.
“Can one of you bring Mummy the bottle opener please?”
The chaotic arguing immediately ceases. Followed by the thunderous sound of six feet galloping up the stairs to my location. Not one of them has gone to get the bloody bottle opener for me.
I glance down at my watch once again. Only 1 hour and 48 minutes until their father gets home from work.
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