We were 19. That was my age, mind you. I was probably pushing 12 on a maturity scale, my adoration for lip gloss and boys still a holding strong. Tooty Fruity Lip Smackers and Any Boy With Armpit Hair And A Car, word. Many of my poor decisions involved agreeing to play Edward Forty Hands before fully understanding the rules and later finding that I had to pee with two Pabst Blue Ribbons duct-taped to my digits. There were also slip-ups with remembering to wear panties to class under my jean skirt and the occasional performance of New Kids On The Block hits in painfully crowded rooms. The most lesson-bearing oops just happened to involve me sober, bum covered, and freshly silent after a stirring rendition of “Hangin’ Tough”.
I’d recently taken a big step from Girl In A Dorm Room to Girl In A Ghetto Apartment. I was growing up, and with each month of paying my third of the rent I became increasingly convinced that all the “Do you know how much your cell phone costs me?!?” sassing from my dad was completely unfounded. Clearly he missed the memo. This supporting of one’s self was as easy as . I’d managed to find an apartment with my best friend, a job teaching dance classes to kids who didn’t care that I spent the class talking on my cell phone, and a wealthy-yet-creepy older girl to split the bills all kinds of thrice. I was hangin’ tough, taking my grown up paycheck step by step to the bizzank. I even got away with saying things like bizzank without once getting jumped on the mean streets of Memphis.
Problems arose a few seconds after moving in. One creepy third of the electric bill started acting out. Our roommate wanted us to check in before eating meals as she had slaved away preparing us home-cooked meals. She denied looking up cartoon porn on my computer regardless if the login was her name. I still can’t watch The Little Mermaid. King Triton’s unsavory acts still threaten to ruin my childhood. She’d invite friends to a party at her place only to call the police regarding unwanted guests trespassing in her domain. Two days after feeling the thud of a marshmallow against the back of my head, one day, twenty-three hours, and forty-nine minutes after hearing the gloommate‘s elaborate method to building marshmallow guns later, the final straw was presented as a screen.
My best friend and I spent a quiet evening watching reruns of chick shows at a schoolmate’s apartment. I sat proud of myself: made a mental note to make out with someone like Patrick Dempsey soon, patted myself on the back for living above the influence and remembering to wear underpants. I sang NKOTB only once, and quite politely during a commercial break at that. We returned home early.
The door was locked.
We lived in the wrong part of Memphis where most parts are wrong, and ours might be considered Runner Up Wrongness.
I fetched my key.
The door wouldn’t budge.
It had been dead-bolted and chain locked from inside.
My newly minted skills at adulthood kicked in, and I had a plan. I had paid 1/3 rent on my own and watched enough MacGyver to get us out of this mess. The first plan involved scissor-kicking the door to the ground. Back up plan: Sling-shooting ourselves from a neighboring tree to the roof, cartwheeling into a second-story apartment (preferably ours). Plan Z: Still do the whole tree ricochet bit, but forget the cartwheels and sleep on the roof. My friend, several months and worlds wiser, said no. “Call our parents and whine?,” I suggested. She headed for a window.
In the dark of night, my normally bubbly friend grew gravely serious. By this I mean she was still smiling, mostly skipping, but definitely not giggling. She jimmied the window open before telling me to crawl through. Theo, the elderly maintenance man, heard our ruckus and shot a suspicious mini flashlight towards the wall. I panicked. I asked her again if the scissor-kicking idea wasn’t a better bet. No. “Ok, well then you push,” I told her, waxing a hand across my bum. No. “Come on! I’m just. I’m just feeling really, like, um, vulnerable right now. Just support me, GAWD. DAH. MITT! Please?,” I begged. And so my best friend hiked my rear and gave me a violent shove. I landed in what I’m told (by a tacky poster on a frat boy’s wall) is called the Enchanted Seagull position. I rolled about on the floor, feeling that our brush with death called for a little added drama, and scooched just in time for my friend to walk through the open, ground-level window.
The next morning, I nursed my coccyx as our Worse Third lectured on why young ladies should be home by nine o’clock and why she doesn’t understand why we won’t just be her best friends.
And so it was, my first and hopefully last window jumping experience, that I gained some valuable knowledge:
I’m almost as good at being a ninja as I am at being an adult.
More importantly, don’t let the pimpled wallflower in the corner of a party help you with a zipper when you need to potty while physically bound to cheap booze.
Most importantly, true friends won’t aim a marshmallow kill shot at your head but will always, always give you a kick in the ass just when you need it.
*Mama Kat’ s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop Writing Prompt #1- Describe a time you had to crawl through a window.