Written by Fiona Longmuir

Voices

Atonement

Ever wanted to apologise for something but don’t know where to start? In a regular series where our writers atone for their past sins, Fiona Longmuir wants to finally admit to her dad that the time she fell through her mirrored wardrobe and giggled till she was empty, she was totally wasted. WHO KNEW?? (Everyone, Fiona, everyone.)

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

When I was a teenager, I harboured a terrible secret. One I’m sure many of my friends guessed at but I could never speak aloud. It was a constant source of antagonism throughout my teens and, dear readers, I’m going to share it with you now.

Deep breath. As a teenager, I had a really great relationship with my parents.

Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. I never once ran away, I never told my mum that I hated her and, come Saturday night, I was more likely to be found babysitting my sisters than drinking down the park with my mates.

As you can imagine, this is difficult to pull off without being universally known as an insufferable goody-two-shoes. Of course, I was an insufferable goody-two-shoes, but I didn’t want anyone to know that. My high-school years were a delicate ballet of attempting to appear cool, wild and edgy, without overstepping the mark with the parents and earning the dreaded, “I’m just so disappointed, Fiona.”

This meant that on the rare occasion that I did mess up, I was so consumed with guilt and fear that I would do just about anything to prevent my parents finding out, including telling barefaced lies and maintaining my innocence, despite all evidence to the contrary.

When I was about 16, I went over to a friend’s house to watch a movie. It was the school holidays. It was a Wednesday night. We were going to watch Trainspotting because we were super cultured and adult.

“The more wine I drank, the more I liked the taste. I felt light and giggly and ever-so-grown-up. We were young! We were free! We were alive!”

My friend’s mum had celebrated her birthday earlier in the week and when I arrived, he gleefully revealed that he had stashed some contraband. After locking his bedroom door and sneaking me a furtive smile, he produced a bottle of rosé.

Due to the aforementioned goody-two-shoesness, the most I’d ever had to drink previously was the odd glass of champagne at New Year. But, not wanting to appear unsophisticated, I accepted the plastic glass of tepid wine handed to me and swallowed it quickly to hide the reflexive wrinkling of my nose. I wasn’t really sure how much wine you had to drink to get drunk but I was quite sure I’d be able to handle myself.

Two and a half glasses later, I was absolutely wasted. I was having the best time ever. The more wine I drank, the more I liked the taste. I felt light and giggly and ever-so-grown-up. We were young! We were free! We were alive!

At least, I was all of those things until my phone buzzed, informing me that my dad was on his way to pick me up. Panic slammed into me as I stood up and realised that the room was swaying. My friend’s bedroom was in the attic of his house and trying to navigate the ladder out of there did nothing to reassure me.

We frantically bundled into the bathroom and I washed my mouth out with about a litre of mouthwash. I felt fear grip my heart as I heard my dad’s horn outside. I steeled myself. It was a 15-minute drive home. All I had to do was pretend to be normal for 15 minutes and my dad would never know.

I spent the entire car journey in pained silence, trying not to move or breathe or catch his eye. The urge to giggle was unbearable. So much so that when I got to the safety of my bedroom, I lay down on the bed and laughed and laughed until I was empty.

My laughter quickly drained away when I spotted the pile of clean bedding on the floor and realised that I was going to have to put my duvet cover on. Naturally, I got stuck inside the cover, laughing weakly, flailing around like the world’s least effective ghost, before toppling over and falling through my mirrored wardrobe.

I woke up the next day convinced that I was dying and spent the day Googling “What does a hangover feel like?”, “Get rid of hangover immediately,” and “Will I feel better if I just throw up?”

My dad gently confronted me that evening, giving me the chance to own up and maturely discuss my teenage boundary pushing. I lied through my teeth. I lied through my teeth and continued to do so every time the incident was brought up for about six years. Dad, I was totally drunk.

@EscapologistFi

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Written by Fiona Longmuir

Fiona Longmuir is a professional storyteller, reluctant adult and aspiring funny girl. When not getting naked in tube stations and binge-watching inappropriate TV shows, she can be found scribbling at the Escapologist's Daughter.

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