When I was 6 years old I lived in a quiet little neighborhood with my mother and father. My mother was a habitual drunk and a partier and when my father wasn’t womanizing in town, he was working. I was alone in the house or outside much of the time.
There was only one other kid my age in the neighborhood and he lived across the street from me with his grandmother. For the life of me I cannot remember his name. He was the only entertainment I had.
He would come over every now and then and we would play outside or with toys in my room. One day my mother and father were both busy ignoring my existence and my friend and I were playing with Matchbox cars on the kitchen table. I was having a great time, but apparently boredom overcame him and he announced that he was leaving to go home. I asked him to stay a few times but he insisted on leaving.
I did not want him to leave, though, so I thought of a way to make him stay. I calmly walked over to one of the kitchen drawers, opened it, reached in, and pulled out a paring knife.
Even at such a young age, I can still remember the confusion on his face turn to shock as I walked over to him with that knife, but he never moved.
I put the knife up to his throat and calmly said, “You cannot go home. You have to stay here and play with me, or else.” At that precise moment my mother appeared behind me. She was on her way to retrieve her cigarettes from atop the microwave. She saw that I had the knife and roared “What in the hell are you doing with that?!?”
It distracted me enough that my friend was able to run out of the door and make it home.
It wasn’t long that his grandmother came to the door asking what had gone on. I was promptly whipped and sent to my room for the rest of the day after she spoke to my mother. I never saw or talked to that kid again after that day and a couple of months later, we moved out of the neighborhood and onto my grandfather’s ranch.
I think about that day every now and then and I often wonder what would have happened if my mother had not come into the kitchen when she did.
How far would I have gone?