after school

My brother and I shared a room from birth until early in elementary school. At some point, my mother alleges, I was asked which bedroom I wanted for myself: the room I currently shared with my brother, or the guest room. This is when I supposedly picked the guest room. I find all of this highly suspicious, for the following reasons:

~ The room I shared with Kyle was way bigger and I was no fool;
~ The guest room was known (by Kyle and me) to have a haunted closet;
~ I still wanted to sleep in our shared room.

My stuff was eventually moved to that guest room, and I used the space to declare my love for all things 80s. But at night, I would say goodnight to my parents, then go into my brother’s room and climb into my old twin bed on my old side of the room.  It was familiar and safe, and most importantly, across the hall from that haunted closet.

Kyle and I would talk long-past bedtime, whispering at first, then getting louder and more careless until the hallway light would spill through the cracks of his almost-closed door, a sure sign that our mom was onto us. We’d lower our voices until the light went out, then start whispering again. We made up games and stories and would stay up late into the night, only stopping when one of us succumbed to sleep.

I’m not sure how old I was when I stopped sleeping in my old bed. In junior high we’d stopped playing imagination games and started playing mind games, but that’s a whole other post. The sweet innocence of playing pretend with a sibling is on my mind a lot as I watch Annabel’s imagination at work with her toys. I wonder what games she and her older sister would have created. What stories would they have spun, what secrets would they have whispered to each other when the lights were off?

It will be a long time until Annabel has a sibling she can invent worlds with. I want her to have a confidante, that partner-in-everything that I grew up with. I can’t wait until I’m the mom in the hallway listening to her kids whisper and create and giggle when they should be sleeping.