My mom called my dad in the car on the way home from work with me, when she discovered that I slipped with laxatives for the second time in my Maudley recovery:
I cried all the way home as he expressed his disappointment in me as a person, and even more hurtful, as his daughter. We got home, and as we pulled in, I saw the outline of my mom at the door peering out: her long brown locks, medium-height lanky body, and long skinny arms. How would I get around her without talking to her?
I opened the car door and slithered out like a rattlesnake making its escape, slammed the door shut behind me, and ran past my mom up the back stairs and hid. Yes, you read that correctly, I hid, like a little girl avoiding her spanking. Through the vents, I could hear them talking, but only in murmurs. Then they shouted for me: “Dani! Dani!” I stayed in my hiding spot, paralyzed.
I hid in a closet in my room under hanging clothes, squishing old shoes with my butt and legs, for what seemed like a long time. I whimpered but tried to stay as quiet as possible. It was hot and dark with a little light peeking through the bottom. I saw the backs of dresses from when I was younger. One was dark maroon. The dress I wore to my bat mitzvah. I felt the texture; hard, almost stale. Over my head was the suitcase where I used to hide laxatives: now I was hiding because of them. I’d reached a new low.
“Dani, Dani! Is this a joke? Where are you?” I heard my mom’s faint footsteps far away.
“Did she leave the house?” asked my dad.
I heard the front door open and slam shut.
Tucked quietly away, I let them panic. I let them squirm the way I had been squirming these past couple of months, tiptoeing around them, trying everything to please them, following their every fucking order so I wouldn’t be hospitalized. I resented my dad’s reaction; I resented my mom for busting me the way she did. She could have just waited until we both got home, instead of making me get stuck in a car with someone who saw this as the ultimate betrayal.
“You are going to be in big fucking trouble whenever you come out!” I heard my dad scream. Not exactly motivation for me to move. I closed my eyes and tried to slow my breathing, hoping the walls from the closet would close in and suffocate me, end it all right now, right here . . .
“Dani, please, we are not mad at you,” my mom countered his lunacy. Her panicked voice made me feel a little bad.
About ten minutes later, I opened the closet door from the inside, revealing myself. I picked myself up slowly, feeling weak and defeated as I called out, “I’m here, I’m here.” But my voice was a whisper, not the shout I’d intended. “I’m here. I am coming!” I called again, this time louder.
I walked down the front stairs and found them both in the kitchen.
When I saw their faces, I apologized through broken whimpers and tears. My parents both embraced me. I snuggled into my dad’s chest, hiding my face and tears in the warmth of his body. I cried for my parents. I cried for myself. I cried because I didn’t think I could do this anymore. I just cried.