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When I was a sophomore in high school, and running around with seniors, (who had taken 5 to 7 years to get there) I had a boyfriend named Mike. Even though he was junior for the third time, and really as dumb as a stick, I thought that he and all of his friends were great. My dad hated him. He hated everything about him, and Mike was a frequent source of irritation and arguments in our home. I loved him! I say it that way, because I can still hear my whiney, teenaged voice telling my parents that every time they asked when he was going to go away. (But, really that's another story.)

All of our friends were graduating, and we were supposed to go to a party at David's house. David was my boyfriend's best friend. Well, David's mother decided that she didn't want 30 drunken teenagers at her house, and arranged for the party to be held at her married son's apartment. My mom was going to allow me to go to this party, only because David's mother went to church with her. When she found out that the party had been moved, she forbade me to go.

The day after she told me I couldn't attend the party, my mom was called out of town to tend to my dad's mother, who had fallen and broken her leg. So, when the day of the party came, I just told my dad that I was going to a graduation party, and left. He never was much of one for talking about things, and he definitely never listened, so he didn't realize I wasn't supposed to go.

My boyfriend picked me up in his dad's car, with no license, (he lost his license due to DUI, nice guy, this?) and we headed over to the party. When we got there, the scene was already chaos. There was a bowl of pills on the coffee table, three or four different kinds. I didn't recognize any of them, so I didn't take them. (I was a little more cautious in those days.) I was an habitual pot-smoker, and did a bit of drinking, but wasn't stupid enough to take unknown drugs from weirdos. Mike (my boyfriend) grabbed three different pills, and swallowed them before I could protest. (Dumbass. Sorry, regression.)

The party got louder and louder, and the people were getting stranger by the minute. I know that I was not Princess Diana, or anything, but they were starting to offend me, as well. It was exactly like being trapped in a small space with a lot of stoned idiots. (Wait. It WAS being trapped in a small space with a lot of stoned idiots. Sorry.)

Our noise must have been bothering the whole town, and eventually, there was a loud knock at the door. Everyone scattered. I'm serious. There were teenaged boys hiding under the bed and in closets, thinking, I guess, that the police had never played Hide-n-Seek before. It was crazy. My heart was pounding, and, since there was no one left but me, I headed to the door. I opened the door, and came face to face with three Baton Rouge City Police Officers. The one standing in front said "Excuse me, but we've been getting complaints about the noise. Do you think that y'all could tone it down? I would hate to bust up your party, since I know it's graduation time." I sighed inwardly. "Yes, sir. We can. I'm sorry." They turned and started walking away, and I closed the door quickly. The table with the pills was right in front of the front door. (Whew!)

I started looking around the apartment for everyone, only to discover that a lot of the people who had gone into the back bedroom to hide were now on the back lawn. (This was a SECOND STORY apartment.) My boyfriend was among them. Two kids were hanging from the balcony, like baby birds falling from a nest. I was tempted to push them the rest of the way off. I helped them in. Just as I hauled the second one back onto the balcony, there was another knock at the door.

I walked back into the living room, taking time to put the bowl of pills into the refrigerator. (Hey. I was 15, it was all I could think of.) I opened the door once more, and once more, was face to face with the same officer. Only he was alone. He said, "My partners are outside apprehending the boys who jumped from the balcony of this apartment. You want to tell me what's going on?" I almost cried. Instead, I said, "Sir, they have been drinking. When you knocked on the door, they thought maybe you would arrest them, since a few of us are underage. But I'm the youngest one here, and I promise, I am NOT drunk." He smiled at me. "I can see that. I can also see that you're not stupid. Why don't you round up your friends, and convince them the party's over? I don't want to have to call anyone's parents from the parish jail, okay?"

This time, when I closed the door, I yelled. "Okay, you assholes! Get in here! Get your shit, and GET OUT! I mean it! GO HOME." I was really angry, very shrill, and scared to death. If the police came back, we could all get arrested, and if we were "hauled in" with all of the stuff that was in this apartment, it could mean more than calling parents for a lot of us. Some of us (mostly David, who was 19, and his brother and sister in law) would probably go to jail.

At some point, during the course of this evening, I had smoked one joint. Not much, but enough to make me fairly paranoid. While I am trying to round everyone up and throw them out, my friend's girlfriend, whom I never liked, called out to me from the bathroom. I went in, and she had her waist-length blonde hair in her hand. She was shaving her head. I was so upset by this time, I wanted to scream. (sigh) I didn't. I took the hair from her, put it in her purse, and showed her the door. What a night this was turning out to be. My boyfriend has disappeared, David and his brother are nowhere to be seen, and I have NO idea how to get home. Not only have I never been to this place before, I don't really remember the ride over, because my boyfriend and I had been shouting at one another the whole way there.

So. Now what? By this time, I am becoming hysterical. I decide that it can't get much worse, and that I really need to get away from here before the police come back again. So, I call my house. "Daddy? Daddy! Wake up." "What? What do you want? What time is it?" "It's 12:30. I know I'm late, Daddy. I don't know where I am, and I want to come home." There is silence on the other end for about 30 seconds. Then, "Stay put. I'll be right there." click!

I have no idea how he found out where I was, but he was driving up the apartment drive within 30 minutes. I ran to the car and got in. He looked at me, and his face was unmistakably angry. But, all he said was, "Are you okay?" I nodded, and he drove me home silently.

The next morning, when I got up, I just knew that it was going to be the end of the world. I avoided getting out of bed until afternoon. When I did get up, he was watching television. He looked at me for a second, and said. "Your mom called. She wants you to call her." My heart sank. It WAS the end of the world.

I called mom at my grandmother's house, and she said, "I'm coming home tomorrow. Have you guys been to the grocery store? You need to get the house cleaned up, I'm bringing MaMa home with me for a week or so. Susie? Are you listening to me?" "Yes, ma'am. I'm just kind of tired." "Your dad told me you were up all night watching television. You know better." "Yes, ma'am." She then gave me a grocery list, and told me all of the things she wanted cleaned and straightened before she came home. I was so relieved that I almost cried.

I went back into the living room and sat down next to my dad. "You didn't tell her." He didn't look up from the television. "Tell her what?" "Never mind, Daddy. What do you want for lunch?"

I am over 30 now, and I remember that day with a sort of surprising clarity. We did nothing all day, except the occasional load of laundry or dishes. We didn't really talk (we never did), and we watched old movies on television. I had never been so grateful for his silence before. And I had never felt so understood by him before, either. I think that day marked a new beginning in our relationship. I didn't get angry with him when he got overprotective, and he trusted me to do what was right. I think he still does.

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