Dropping by someone’s house in the middle of the night just feels awkward, whatever the reason for being there. It’s as if you walked into a show already in progress. You are tired, they are tired. You’re probably both blurry-eyed and there is a Freaky Friday vibe to the whole thing. Such was the case when my Mom and I showed up at my uncle and grandmother’s home shortly before their bedtime last night. We had called ahead from the Interstate, which seemingly had, within minutes, gone from a clear highway to a sheet of ice. My tire had caught a patch and we slid across lanes before I managed to right us. Still, I seized my chance to get off the road, by that time traumatized, and decided to spend the night at my uncles. Since my grandmother moved there over a decade ago, we have visited often, but only for the day. When we arrived, my uncle and grandma greeted us in their pajamas and ushered us upstairs to a guest room, where they had laid out fresh bedding and towels as soon as we had called. Mom and I got into bed, turned off the lights and listened to the strange sounds of an unfamiliar house. After sharing a stress-relieving giggle fit worthy of a teenage sleepover, we fell asleep. In the morning, waking after my uncle had already left for work, we raided the bathroom cabinets for any beauty supplies to help us clean up and found the usual suspects: a half-used hotel shampoo and conditioner, a travel size bottle of lotion, a hairbrush and comb. We also discovered a hairdryer that didn’t work and in the last cabinet the scene above: a dismembered Ken doll, his legs and arms scattered willy nilly amidst the Glade, Frizz-Ease and GE Energy Smart light bulb. I called my mother over, a huge question mark apparent on my face.
“Um, what’s this?” I asked.
“I already saw,” my mother said, returning to her pillaging. Hmm, either my Mom knew and understood why her brother might have a dismembered Ken doll in his towel closet or she thought it better not to ask. I decided to follow her lead. We all know the night holds secrets that should never make it to the light of day and Miss Manners would in all likelihood recommend that you grant your relatives some slack when you invade their homes in the middle of the night. After all, we all know we hide skeletons in our closets. It’s just I always thought this was a metaphor.
Writing Prompt: What have you found hidden? Write about it. Or, share a quirk of one of your relatives. What does it say about him or her?