Laying in bed last night listening to the dishwasher run, I remembered the first time my mother left me alone.
I was eight years old. We were living in our third, and my favorite, house. My best friend was visiting and we were deeply entrenched in imaginative play. My mother needed to go to the farm down the street for vegetables. Ali and I asked to stay home. My mom wasn't sure about that. We promised everything would be fine and we would stay in the house. After much prodding, my mom relented. After all, she would only be gone 10 minutes or so. "The dryer is running so you may here some noises come from the basement. I'll be back in just a few minutes."
It wasn't long after she left that we heard noises. After a few more minutes we convinced ourselves that it didn't sound like the dryer. We decided someone must be in the basement or trying to get in the house.
Ali and I ran up to the third floor bathroom and hid in the tub. That is exactly where my mother found us whispering to each other when she returned mere minutes later. "I guess we need to wait a little longer until I leave you alone again." she laughed. "No, no, Mom. We're fine like we promised." I insisted.
I can't remember the next time she left me alone with no adult present in the house. Truthfully, I was probably 16.
Lying in bed in the dark I felt alone, floating, suspended in time, and 8 years old all over again.