I am at a party, in a very large three story house. It is Christmas and the house is thoroughly decorated in addition to all the carefully chosen beautiful things in the house. My sister is there and my cousin N. I know that my cousins K and T are there as well. My sister has cancer, but I am still married to S.
My father is there and drunk. "The FBI is coming to talk to me," he says, waving a letter. "They want my help. I know things." I look at the letter, which is real. My father is magnifying the importance. It is not important nor threatening but I know that he's covering because he is frightened and he wants to be important. "I'm sure you'll be able to help them." I say.
My father says to S, "Get rid of any drugs."
"What?" says S, who has not been paying attention.
"No drugs. No pot," says my father, belligerently.
S looks at me.
"The FBI is coming to talk to him," I say to S. To my father, I say, "He really hasn't smoked pot for a long time." And anyhow, the FBI is not going to come to the party. It's not that important.
But S is hurt and offended. He goes downstairs to leave. I follow him, thinking of home. It's dark and quiet. I have a small baby now, snuggled up to my neck. On the first floor, S has gone into the bathroom. There is a woman that I know a bit and trust. "Please," I say, "will you hold her while I get my things upstairs? S is in the bathroom and can take her when she comes out." The woman considers for a moment and takes the infant. She is really the only person around who is not partying or drunk. Dancing and noise and lights. The infant cuddles in to her neck without a murmur.
I return to the third floor. My cousin N says, "We're ready to play the family games. We have other people to show the games to. Come on, we're waiting, your sister is waiting."
"I'm going home, thanks. I am not going to play." I get my coat and purse and diaper bag and look at the pile of presents. Many are for my sister. I see a pencil shaped one from my father's sister with my name on it and a box. I take them. If there are other presents, perhaps a family member will bring them. Or not. I don't mind either way.
The hostess is there. I thank her for the party. "Your house is gorgeous and it's a lovely party. I need to take the baby home." She nods and is swept back into the noisy party.
On the second floor, I find S. He does not have the baby. "You don't have her?" I ask, but I'm not worried. "I gave her to you," he says, puzzled. "She's downstairs." I'm already heading down, but I know that she is with someone trustworthy and safe. I will get her and go home. S may follow me or not, but I have what I want.