The Play House
By Linda Christoff
I remember when I was seven years old, our parents went out. They got a babysitter for us, but she was on the phone most of the night. My brother was five years old, and we were playing house. He liked to play the Father and I would be the Mother. We had cardboard fridge and stove. My Mom put curtains up on a small window, she put our children’s table and chairs set right in front of that window. She bought a small tea set, plus little dishes that looked real. She bought some plastic fruits and vegetables. She put an old orange crate standing up on end so it looked like cupboards then she put curtains on it.
Our youngest baby sister was asleep in the crib, our little sister was
already in bed sleeping soundly. I don’t know why I said it, but I told my brother that I wanted real fire on my stove. I told him,
I couldn’t cook anything because there was no fire. I grabbed my big
doll and put it in the toy crib and covered it with a blanket. My brother told
told me to go into the small hidden room and turn the light on. So without delay I went inside. It was very dark.
I kept searching for the light, I was getting scared because I couldn’t
see it. It was so black in there. Then I felt as if the air was being choked out of me. The hidden room kept getting smaller. The roof, floors, and walls
felt as if they were crushing all the air out of my body.
Then I woke, there was clear thing helping me to breath. I
reached to pull it away from my face when a fire fighter said,“ Don’t touch it’s helping you.” I just lay on Dad’s lap, breathing. The fire fighter told my Dad that we were lucky to be alive, especially the little girl. God must be looking out for the two little ones.
After every one left, my Dad came out of his bedroom with the widest and thickest belt. He started hitting my brother, so hard, I looked into my brother’s eyes I could feel every blow. I started yelling, “It’s my fault I asked for a stove like Mommies with the fire so it will cook faster”. My Mom told him to stop or he wouldn’t get anything. He stopped, and yelled, “Get to bed now!”
We all went running, very quickly, and I jumped right into bed.
Of course we had to move. My Dad had to go looking for houses to find one that would suit our needs.