It’s 11:21. My eyes are wide open. I’m laying in the dark of my bedroom next to my husband. How can he be asleep right now? Am I the only parent in the world worried out of my mind every single Friday night? I told Jenna 11:30. I better hear that garage door open in nine minutes. She’s really pushing the limit with this curfew. 11:30 is more than fair. I definitely wasn’t allowed out that late at her age. What are kids doing at this hour? No. Don’t think about that. I’m sure she’s safe. She’s a smart girl. She’s so young though. Are kids drinking at fourteen? Maybe I should call her phone. No. Wait. Don’t be that mother. She needs to know that I trust her. I do. I trust my daughter.
I glance over at the clock again at 11:29. This is torture. My stomach knots up. Where is she? I reach for my phone. Do I call her now? No. Wait. She’ll be here. Give her five more minutes.
After five minutes, I reach for my phone. She’s late. She has officially missed her curfew. It’s okay to call her now. I reach for my phone. I call her number and it rings and rings and then goes to her voicemail. Now I’m a little angry. I’m angry that I’m angry. I’m angry that she’s making me worry. This isn’t fair. Do I wake my husband? Do I call her back first? How many more of these nights is she going to make me have? None. She’s grounded. I liked it better when she was six.
I call her back and as I’m listening to the phone ring and ring, I get a call on the other line. I don’t recognize the number. The cops. It’s definitely the cops. My stomach drops. My heart pounds against my chest.
“Mom, it’s Jenna. I need you to pick me up.”
Now I wake my husband.
I’m not really sure why I straightened my hair for this party. Maybe it was just for the pictures we took while pregaming. Hopefully at least one is profile picture worthy. Anyway, the moment I walked into the house I started sweating and my straight hair went straight up into a bun on top of my head. I probably look awful but this guy grinding up behind me doesn’t seem to care. I think he’s a junior. Does that make me a cool freshman? I really need to get out of this basement. It’s dark and hot and I’m not sure where my friends went. Plus, I have never had to pee this bad in my entire life.
Without bothering to turn around and explain myself to this guy, I rip his hands off my waist and head for the stairs. The basement is so crowded I actually have to push people and even crawl around a few. Finally, I make it to the stairs where I find one friend. Hannah is safe on the stairs kissing the face off of the hot guy in our acting class. I guess he’s straight after all. I take out my phone to capture this Kodak moment. Just as I’m ready to snap the picture, Hannah opens one eye and sticks her middle finger up at me. She then gives me another sign. From what I resolve, she wants another drink. Good. Me too.
When I get to the top of the stairs, I open the door and find out that the main floor is practically as crowded as the basement. I ignore my bladder and navigate my way to the kegs. There were three when I first arrived. The kegs are located behind the bar off the kitchen. Joey, the kid who lives here, must have pretty ignorant parents to leave a teenager home alone for a night with 60 dollars, a bar full of alcohol, and only the guidance of his grandparents who live a town over. It’s a shame really to think about the lack of trust his parents will have for him after tonight. Unless of course he gets away with this chaos.
After some haggling at the bar (details of this will go without discussion), I get two cups of beer and head back to the basement stairs. On my way there, I run into Hannah. She slurs something about the hot kid trying to explain to her the uncertainty he feels towards his sexual orientation. I’m pretty sure the majority of kids at our high school are unsure of this. Anyway, I give Hannah the beer and take her to the bathroom with me.
When we reach the bathroom, the line is full of girls. Do men not have bladders? Luckily, the line moves pretty quickly although that’s mostly because girls are going in three at a time. I decide to send our friends a group text hoping we can all regroup outside or something. I get no response until Hannah and I are in the bathroom. I open my phone to a text from Grace saying “COPS!!”
Hannah and I are trapped in the bathroom. We’re too far from any exit to try to make a run for it. So, Hannah and I do what any other logical drunk fourteen-year-old would do. We make sure the door is locked, pour our beers down the drain, and hide out in the bathtub.
I drive into the neighborhood. Kid’s are so stupid. If you’re going to have a party, control it. Don’t make it so obvious. I mean I can see kids from here smoking cigarettes and drinking beers on the front porch. I bet the parents aren’t even home. What a shame. I really hate this part of my job. I didn’t become a cop to screw over teenagers. Although I guess I had to expect that in a town with a population under 6,000. Not much lawbreaking goes on besides speeding and underage drinking. I should have moved to the city. Now I have to walk into the party, turn off the music, and watch drunk fifteen year old girls scramble around like a bunch of headless chickens. I bet I had the majority of them back when I did D.A.R.E. What happened between then and now? Does D.A.R.E do anything productive?
I pull up to the house. All ready I see the kids on the porch run away. I let them go. Maybe they’ll just go home. It is almost midnight. Do parents still do curfews? I can already tell it’s pretty packed so I call for back up, anticipating a few rowdy boys giving me a hard time. The kid who lives here better not run. I get out of the car and walk up to the door. I give it three loud knocks. It doesn’t take long for some kid to open the door. Time to take charge.
“Shut the music off. Nobody is allowed to leave this house!” I yell in my most authoritative voice. The house reeks of alcohol. The walls bump from the low bass music and the floors shake. There must be a basement. The music on the first floor shuts off. “It will be best for everyone if you remain silent and compliant. Will Joey Grando please come forward.”
At this point, two of the other cops in the squad show up. I tell them to check out the basement. Joey, the boy who lives in the house, walks out from around the bar, his eyes red. He struggles to walk straight. I tell him he is under arrest. One of the other cops turns him around, handcuffs him, and walks him out the door to the car to take him down to the station. He hangs his head. And another one bites the dust.
I tell the rest of the teenagers they cannot go anywhere until their own parents come to pick them up. I’m being nice by not arresting all of them because technically they are all breaking the law. So I make it my top priority to make sure they all get home safely. Their parents will deal with them and hopefully give them the consequences they deserve. Stupid kids.