Rule #1) Never hurry home. After soccer, hang out at the library. Try to get invited to Marcy’s house for dinner. Just don’t act too desperate.
Rule #2) Don’t have friends over. If they ask why, say, “My mom works nights and sleeps in the afternoon.”
Rule #3) When you do come home, don’t change the TV channel or mute the volume, even if she’s sleeping on the couch. It’s not worth the fight.
Rule #4) If anyone asks, she works nights.
Rule #5) Never talk about it, even with Nana on the phone. Never, ever with teachers or the counselor. Better here than with your dad.
Rule #6) Never water down the bottle. Then you’ll have to explain the bruises.
Rule #7) Keep the babysitting money in your locker for lunch and tampons.
Rule #8) Don’t sign up for band because you’ll need a ride to the concerts and she’s always losing her license.
Rule #9) Always listen when she says she loves you, even when she’s too drunk to remember the next day. Tell her you love her too, even if it’s a lie, and hope Jesus understands.
Rule #10) Hide your journal in the cellar behind the dryer – she never washes clothes and besides, she’s afraid of spiders and falling down the stairs. But don’t stash it under the same loose tile as the Stoli, in case she gets desperate.