Staying at my parents house this week has made me feel like I am reliving my teenage years. Before you think that things are going to get all nostalgic up in here, let me assure you that reliving my teenage years is something I hoped never to do. Let's just say that if I ever got a chance to be 17 again (like in that lame movie with the annoying guy from Friends and that annoying kid with the exhibitionist girlfriend, both of whom would be nothing if it wasn't for Disney), I would save the varsity football team some trouble and shove myself into a locker all on my own.
The things that I am getting a chance to re-experience here are not the things of fond memories with rosy vignettes. There have been no games of catch in the backyard, no freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, no laughter around the dinner table at a funny joke. No, these things are the stuff that repressed memories are made of, the worst of which are best saved for tacky therapist couches.
Take last night, for example. I made one last trip downstairs to the bathroom before bed, and as I passed through the living room I witnessed my dad sitting on the couch in his boxers and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, trimming his toenails while watching the 11pm news. He had one leg crossed over the other, with a pile of jagged nail clippings balanced carefully on his knee. With each squeeze of the trimmer, a loud click echoed off of the walls. He would pick up the sliver of toenail, inspect it carefully up close, and then put it with the rest of the clippings on his knee.
If only The Boss had been there, she would have had an illuminating glimpse of what she can expect me to look like 20 years into the future, and be able to plan for our divorce accordingly.
I used the bathroom and retreated back upstairs, and read for a while until I heard the TV shut off downstairs. I shut off the lamp on my nightstand and stared off into the dark. As if seeing way too much of my fathers pasty-white thighs wasn't traumatizing enough for one night, I was just about to drift off when I heard something. I sat up on one elbow and focused my ears on the sound... and almost immediately wished I hadn't.
I wished that I had ignored the sound. I wished I was deaf. I wished that a hurricane would form right over the house and the howling wind would drown it out. I wished that Fran Drescher would suddenly appear and laugh loudly in my face... Anything but what I feared the noise truly was.
I told myself that the noises I heard coming from my parents bedroom directly below me were not what I thought it was.
My parents just snore differently than most people, that's all, I assured myself.
Maybe they are just trying to pass some gas.
The noise was probably from their mattress, from them positioning - NO! Don't say the word position! - getting comfortable before going to sleep.
Surely it will be over soon. They're just fluffing their pillows or something.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon your perspective), life as a teenager had prepared me for such a situation, as my bedroom in the house I grew up in was also right above my parents. There were many nights where I fell asleep with my pillow over my head or with my clock radio on, trying my hardest not to hear my parents get it on.
At least I know that even with an empty nest, my parents aren't trapped in a love-less marriage. Although, I would have been okay with not having heard the proof of that fact first-hand.