He was getting closer.
I ran down the hallway and ducked into the first room I saw, quietly closed the door behind me and cowered in the dark corner.
My heart beat frantically in my chest. My lungs chugged for air. I leaned against the cold surface of the door, my ear strained to listen for his footsteps.
They were getting louder.
I bit my lip to hold back the scream that threatened to rip from my throat. I panicked and looked around for a quick exit. My shoulders slumped as I realized I’d chosen a room with no other way out.
I was trapped.
I looked down at the small, square box I delicately held and wondered how much longer it would be mine. Its precious cargo was the reason for my flight. To give it up would go against the very fiber of my being.
I clutched it tighter to my chest, its coldness clashed violently with the heat of my flushed body. It jarred my senses and spurred my resolve to fight.
“This is mine!” I silently raged. “Not his.”
I ripped open the top of the box and reached inside with the small, silver object I’d tucked away before I’d made my escape.
The sudden knock froze my entire body.
My husband poked his head around the door, took one look at me huddled in the corner on the floor and casually asked, “Uh, is there a reason you’re eating chocolate ice cream in the bathroom?”
I shot upright, grabbed his arm, pulled him quickly into the bathroom and shut the door. “Shhh!” I ordered. “Did he hear you?! Did he see you come in here?!”
Like a junkie hopped up on a three-day binge and hiding from the narcotics squad, I twitched around the small space, praying my husband hadn’t unwittingly led our three-year-old son to my hiding place.
“He went upstairs to look for you,” was his answer.
I freaked. “No-no-no-no-no!” I held up the box in one shaking hand, showing him the contents and said, “Look! There’s only a little bit left. Like two bites. That’s all!”
I held the spoon in my other hand and stabbed the air with it. “And I am NOT in the mood to share today.”
My husband, eyes wide with fright and perhaps thinking a psychiatric consult was in my near future, quietly said, “OK, I’ll go distract him.”
I lowered the spoon with an unsteady motion as the adrenaline surged through my body. I nodded and said with new-found bravado, “Yeah, you go do that.”
I opened the door, peaked out and motioned him to get out.
He squeezed past me and headed down the hallway. Just as I stepped back to close the door, I heard a soft boof.
I jumped back in shock and tripped over the toilet, dropping the ice cream into the sink and hitting my head on the wall.
You don’t want to know where the spoon ended up.
“Son-of-a-#*&!” I howled, sat up and tried to shake my blurry vision back into focus.
Standing in the doorway was our golden retriever, apparently wondering why we were holding a conference in the bathroom. With food. Without her.
My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, her chocolate brown eyes said.
However, her bruised emotions were not my first priority at that moment.
I leaned over, grabbed onto the sink’s edge and pulled myself up on shaky legs. I looked down and saw the soggy container on its side, dripping melted, chocolate goodness down the drain. But before I could mourn its demise, I heard Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
Feet running down the stairs. So much for the helpful interference my husband had promised. I’d have had better luck sending a United Nations convoy upstairs.
I sighed, looked at my sad reflection in the mirror then back down at the mess in the sink. Apart of me felt shame at my selfishness, leading to this brutal, tragic end.
Oh, screw it, I thought. Life is too short. I ran from the bathroom, grabbed my purse and headed for the garage just as a little voice behind me asked, “Mommy! Where are you going?”
To the ice cream aisle at the grocery store, I silently answered. Where’d I put that spoon?
(originally published Feb. 25, 2009)