My first sleepovers were either at Roxi's house or with a family my parents went to college with. They had two boys and one was my age. We had fun together.
One evening we spent the night and when we woke up, Wendy's cheek was swollen to twice its size.
I don't remember anyone being very scared, but all the adults were trying to figure out what had happened and if she should go to the emergency room.
I was sitting next to her on the couch, while she sat in my dad's lap. I stared hard at her, trying to figure out why her cheek was sticking out like she maybe had a bouncy ball inside her mouth, pressed up against the side of her face.
She wasn't crying, but staring right back at me, telling me without words to figure it out and fix it.
The adults were all chattering around us, trying to decide what to do. I narrowed my eyes at her face, turned my head slightly to the left, then to the right. She copied me.
Then, I reached up, touched her check, and snapped my hand back in surprise. It was so hard! Almost like she did have a bouncy ball pressed up against the inside of her cheek!
And that was when I remembered! Wendy had been sticking this toy in her mouth the night before. It was a little kitty cat with a fat, round bottom in place of its legs. I concluded she must have fallen asleep with it in her mouth, and now her cheek was permanently stuck out there for all the world to see!
I proudly announced my findings. The adults disagreed.
I argued. Argued some more.
"We probably just need to get a needle and pop it!" I told them. They ignored me and took her to the emergency room.
I didn't see her for the rest of the day, or the next day. I was worried. I started wondering if she was going to be allowed to come home, but I couldn't say that to anyone. Maria was beside herself with sadness and Mom and Dad would panic if I brought it up.
So, I waited. And waited.
Dad finally took us to the hospital to see her. I was sitting in a chair in a small waiting room staring down a very large, never-ending, stark white hallway when I saw her.
She was holding Mom's hand and they were walking toward us. I jumped up and shouted to Maria, "There she is!"
She was wearing jeans and a blue, long sleeve shirt. I could feel my smile splitting my face.
But, before she even got half-way down the longest hallway in the world, Dr. Stanley swooped in, picked her up and carried her off!
I was livid! "That's my sister!" I cried. "Where is he taking her?"
Mom finally reached us and said, "He's figured out what kind of spider bit her, and now he can give her the medicine she needs."
I put my hands on my hips and glared at her. "So, she didn't swallow the cat toy?"
With the utmost seriousness Mom replies, "No, she didn't swallow the cat toy."
She was home that afternoon.