What I should have said ....was No!
But he is a grown man, so there is no NO available.

“I can’t find my room.” (As an adult I would say he whined.)

“The arrow points that way down the hall to your room.”
I don’t like how this feels.

I can see the door to our room right behind him, but I can’t go there; he might follow me in. And, I don’t want him to know where we stay.

I want the elevator door to open behind me so I can step in and go back to the room where my mom and dad, brother and sister, aunts and uncles are all laughing and having fun.

“I know what it says on the wall, but I looked and couldn’t find it.”  
He’s lying. I know it.

What I should have said was, “They can help you at the front desk”.
But he is an adult, so I can’t talk that way to him.

“Can you help me?” he asked.

What I should have said was “NO.”
But I am supposed to help someone in need.

I didn’t like him walking down the hall behind me because I just wanted to turn and run.

I should have screamed and screamed like I was doing inside.
But I had to keep it inside so he wouldn’t get angry.

What I should have said was, “You lied! Your room is right here!”
But instead I said, “Here’s your room.”

“Come on in.” He smiled

I should have said “No, thank you.” and run.
But it wasn’t an invitation, it was a command, and I don’t disobey.

And that is what saved me when he offered me a drink.

Something changed in that moment.
My father loomed larger than this stranger offering me a drink.  I had footing here. This man is wrong offering me alcohol. I can say no ‘cause my dad would not want me to drink.

Finally, I said “NO! I don’t drink. I’m only 14.”

You’re only 14???”  

The man moved away…in flash I am out the door, running down the hall, praying he is not behind me.

I feel tears as I lean against the locked door of our room.
It’s okay now. It’s okay now. It’s okay now….Yet I cannot find my breath. 

I have to find mom’s glasses. She will be worried if I take too long.

AuthorDeborah Doyle