I was in 5th grade, and must have been around 9 or 10. This was around 1991. There was a girl in my class that my best friend and I had befriended. I'll call her J.
J invited both of us to her birthday party which was to be a sleepover at her mom's house. I remember being very excited about going to her birthday party and sleeping over. After my mom spoke to J's mom on the phone, she agreed to let me go to the party. My best friend's mom said no. I remember being bummed about this, but I still wanted to go.
It was around evening when my mom dropped me off at J's house. It wasn't until I walked past a room in the living room which had poop all over the floor that I began to feel strange. This was new to me, because anytime my family ever had a puppy, newspaper or something was always placed on the floor first. I started to have doubts about staying over, but I was already in the house and felt embarrassed to tell my mom to take me home. My mom had been talking to J's mom at the door for probably 15 minutes, and finally my mom said she was leaving. I can't remember for sure, but I am sure that I gave her a hug and had wished that she could take me back with her.
After my mom left, I went further into the living room where J was playing with her dad's hair. He was sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, and she was making funny shapes with his grey hair. I remember her dad looking considerably older than both of my parents, but didn't give much thought to it. I started feeling strange vibes after seeing poop all over the floor in the bedroom, and witnessing J playing with her father's hair. Something just didn't feel right. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but this was the strangest birthday part I had ever been to.
J's mom and dad did not get along very well. I can't remember when I realized that my friend's parents were split up. I don't think I knew they were split up until this night. My uneasy feeling gradually faded as the parents told us we were going to the town's favorite pizza place. It was actually inside a department store at the time. I remember her parents ordered the pizzas, and J and I went around the aisles with a buggy. I guess we were just having fun going by ourselves rolling the buggy. We were laughing and giggling. Things seemed ok for the moment. We went back to the pizza place, ate, and discussed with her parents what to do next. Her dad had the idea of us staying at his place, and personally I liked that idea because of the poop in her mom's house. Obviously it never occurred to me at this age that her parents should call my parents to discuss this. Now that I am an adult, I realize that any good parent would never take another child to their house without letting the other parents know. All I could think about was the poop and the smell in the house, and I thought any place would be better than going back to her mom's.
Her mom drove all of us to J's dad's house, and I remember them fighting a lot in the car. I don't remember what was said, but there was name-calling. I remember that same uneasy feeling coming back, and regretting going to this sleepover. The dad had promised cookies when we got there, and said he had horses. What 9-year-old girl wouldn't get excited?
Once we got to his mobile home in the middle of nowhere, I felt somewhat relieved. The mobile home looked clean on the outside as it was on the inside. I started to feel a little better again. J and I went inside and started to play Aladdin on Sega. I remember this. I had already had some cookies, and I remember her father stayed on the recliner after J's mom left. I learned later that he was drinking, but I had not been aware of this at first.
After a while, J and I decided to go to sleep, and I had to use the restroom. I cannot recall if I went into the bathroom myself first, and found out it was not working, or if father told me it was out of order, after asking him to use the restroom. I just remember him letting me know the bathroom was not working, and I would have to go potty outside. He lived on a lot of land, and there were horses and some other animals roaming around near the front. While the dad was sitting in his chair in the living room, I told him I needed to use the restroom. This is when he told me to go outside and sit on the porch steps and go. I remember trying many times throughout the night to go potty, but could not release it. It was probably the fact of being scared and not understanding the situation. I asked her dad to let me call my mom, but he said his phone did not work. At one point, I started crying and practically begged him, but he still insisted he was in no condition to drive. He said he had too many to drink. I remember lying in bed wide awake quietly crying, and wishing my mom had said no to me spending the night. I didn't give up trying to go to the bathroom... It had to been around 2 or 3 in the morning and I was still trying to go to the bathroom. It must have been fall or late winter because it was somewhat chilly outside, and the horses kept coming up to me while I tried to pee. At one point, the dad told me to use a can to try to pee in... I tried that, and nothing worked. I remember sitting on the porch steps and it feeling very cold on my bottom... And for me to go, I would have had to pee through the holes on the wooden steps. I stayed up the entire night waiting for morning to come so I could go back home. I just wanted to see my parents again. I even thought about escaping and running out the door. I felt very desperate. I had never had to go to the bathroom so badly in my life, and there was no way for me to release it. I think this was the first night that I had ever felt extreme panic and anxiety.
Finally, morning came and it felt like the best day of my life. There was no breakfast, but that did not matter to me. I just wanted him to take me home. Her dad finally did take me home, and I was safe, but about 2 years ago I found out that J's dad was in prison for child molestation. Not from his own daughter, but a friend of hers from when she was a kid. He had done this around the same time that I had stayed at his house. I honestly do not have any memories of that night, except the fact that I had to use the bathroom outside, and her dad would not take me home.
I put this story out there in hopes to prevent this from happening to another child. This really messed me up more than I thought it did as a child, and still suffer from severe anxiety. For years after this, I would have the constant feeling of needing to urinate, but would have trouble going. I don't think he harmed me in any other way, but this night did emotionally scar me. I was scared for years to stay the night at someone's house unless knew they had a bathroom.
A part of me is still angry at my parents for letting me stay the night when they really didn't know the parents. I guess this is also a learning experience for me if I ever have kids. I try not to be too angry at them, because they probably just had never experienced anything like that before. We lived in a quiet neighborhood with lots of kids, and it was relatively safe. But I still feel the need to get my story out there. I am lucky that nothing worse happened to me, even though at that time, it felt like a nightmare.