Last night I went out to a gig, and came home on the last train from London, pretty much in the middle of the night. Poor Abel got stranded abroad on his business trip, and so wasn’t there to be nudged awake. Still, despite coming back to an empty house, I was having visions of creeping home after a night out to be met by my very cross uncle.
“What time do you call this?” he spits out. “Why is your phone off?”
I offer my apologies. Secretly, I think he shouldn’t get so worked up about this: he knew I was out at a concert, and when did he think concerts finished? Late, that’s when! Even so, I act contrite. I know what he’s like.
I’m not mistaken in my apprehension. He curtly orders me to my bedroom, but instead of leaving me to collapse into bed, he follows me in and shuts the door. Then he reaches to his belt and slides it out of the loops with a whoosh.
“You know what to do,” he growls.
Oh, the indignity. Two hours ago I was an independent young woman, dancing my way through exhilarating tunes. And now, just like that, I’m a naughty little girl again. I want to get through this as quickly as possible, so I don’t offer any arguments. I push down my jeans and bend over the edge of the bed.
The belt stings just as much as it did when I really was a little girl. I draw a wad of bedding between my teeth to stop crying out and embarrassing myself any further. I can feel my backside growing hotter with every lick of pain. I wriggle, and hiss, but I don’t cry out, though my eyes are wet by the end.
“Get into bed,” my uncle says curtly. “You’re grounded until the end of the week.”
I obey sulkily, and wait for him to leave the room before I allow myself a big watery smile.
My bottom is sore, and I’d rather not be confined to the house like a naughty kid, but the memories of the concert are still dancing in front of my eyes. After all that, it was totally worth it.