I wanted to be happy. That was all. Everybody wants to be happy, right? It isn’t like wanting to be happy is a crime. And everybody knows that Friday nights are the nights where the adults get to be so happy! happy! happy! that they’re throwing bottles and yelling and breaking things and making everyone crazy.

If they get to be happy, the kids should get to be happy, too.

Tjo, are you hearing me?

Because until recently, Friday nights were for hiding.

Tjo, I hear you. You’re probably saying, “Ag, Ayesha, what’s so bad that you got to hide on Friday nights? You’ve got two parents. They’ve both got jobs. What’s the problem?”

Did you miss the part where I said the adults were throwing bottles? That’s some scary stuff. Because my parents, like everyone else on the street, have a jol each and every Friday night. They drink and drink and drink and drink until they are all angry or pass out. I’ve come back in the mornings to find my mother laying on the floor in a puddle of her own piss. Believe me when I tell you, it stank.

Believe me when I tell you that when she finally woke up—“Ay-EEEE-sha! Get me my tablets,”­––that she did not lift one finger to clean up the mess, either. Nope. That was left to me and my little sister Jade. Dis-gust-ING!

Tjo, and let me tell you, mommy is not the biggest problem. That award goes to daddy. Big men have big fists, and those can come swinging at any time. Ja, ja, there are police, social workers, nurses, doctors, teachers ––all these people who are supposed to help you. And I am sure they help you. But he only gets super drunk once a week. And it is Friday night, and when you call the emergency numbers it’s basically, take number, get in line, because everybody and their dog is phoning for help.

Friday nights are like that around here. Everybody needing to be rescued from everybody else. Only so many people working Friday nights to help, and I learned long ago that there just isn’t time for waiting. So Jade and I hide, along with a bunch of other kids, if there is nobody we can hang with.

NB! You can’t hide just anywhere.

No, no, no. There are some scary people out there, and they might be hiding too. So…. you have to know where to go.

Popular places to hide are:

  1. The cave (not to be confused with other caves, which are dangerous).
  2. The shed (again, you have to know which shed, not just any shed will do).
  3. The old BMW (but you got to get there early, or other kids will take it).
  4. The tunnel (it doesn’t go anywhere, just a cement tube sitting randomly near the old BMW).
  5. The ship (more of a boat, and nobody knows why it is on land, but the kids have dug out the bottom, made a giant hole, and we can snuggle in there and be fine).

But that night, Jade struck gold – her best friend, Lily, was staying at her grandma’s and Jade was invited too. Lily’s grandma doesn’t drink. So Jade was good. Which left me free, free, free, to do something I’d wanted to do forever and ever.

I phoned Lazola.


Tell us: Do you know kids who have parents like Ayesha and Jade’s? What do they do to stay safe?