There’s a fun game I play sometimes with my daddy and my sisters.
The rules are easy, even for little girls like us. Daddy plays an angry man, and we have to hide from him.
He stomps around on the floor and scratches at the walls and yells nothing words, and we run around on our tippy-toes and stay out of his way.
Some nights we play just because daddy feels like it, but usually it’s because he had a bad day at his work.
We can use the dark rooms and the hidden doors and the little spaces behind the walls that are all over the house, but we’re not aloud to leave and hide outside.
Daddy says it will be much much worse if we leave.
Daddy plays for a long long time, too. Every once and a while we’ll stay up playing way past our bedtimes and then our teachers will be mad at us because we’re sleepy in school.
But we have to keep playing. We can't let daddy catch us.
Sometimes when we play I get tired of running and I hide in one spot. I’ll go under the bed or in a closet, and when I hear daddy stomping into the room, I’m too scared to move.
I cover my mouth so he doesn’t hear me breathing, and I don’t cry like I used to. But sometimes he finds me anyway. His big boots stomp to the bed and then he bends down and sees me.
And when he does, he pulls me out and tickles my belly and says, “You have to try harder next time, pumpkin.”
One night he hid with us. We went to the room in the ceiling and we hugged and he told us how much he loved us. He said he had a really bad day.
He said Thomas didn’t have his mask on the right way and the smoke touched him and everyone ran. He said we had to hide together until his friends called to tell us it was safe.
And when they finally did we all had ice cream from the freezer.
Daddy worries a lot that something will go wrong at his job. He says that one day we when we play the game for real, it won’t be him that’s the angry person.
It could be our friends or the neighbours or Uncle Joe or even Grandma. They might look the same on the outside, but inside they’ll be angry and yelly and not their regular selves.
That's why we have to get good at hiding. Because they won’t be nice when they find us like daddy is. He says they’ll be angry forever.