When we had decided to go to a club to dance, I knew I had to ask for permission, after all, my parents needed to know where I was. As usual, I was pretty blunt, I wasn’t looking for trouble, I just wanted to dance.
My Mother said “yes”. She knew I had gotten into dancing salsa, and I was heading to a pretty upscale club to hear and dance to a live band. I was beyond excited. I was 16, and heading out with a small group of 18, and 20 year olds.
We dressed up, feeling a little older than we should have. We got to the club, it was beautiful, and old school. We took one of the leather half circle booths, it had various pop, and alcohol already placed in the middle of the table. The music was loud, and making my veins pop. I was ready to dance. Alex jumped up, grabbed my hand and led me to the dance floor. As we started to dance, the rest of the table got up and joined us.
By mid twirl, I looked over, noticed a crowd parting. The music was cut quickly, the lights went on, blinding everyone temporarily. A man in a full combat uniform, machine gun over his shoulders had taken over the microphone.
In Spanish he told all the women to go on one side of the club and men on the other. Alex was holding my hand, feeling me shake. I was stunned. He whispered, just act like you belong, don’t speak English, and don’t flash your diplomatic passport until you really have to.
My friend Tanya grabbed my other hand, leading me to the other side. We were both speechless, trying not to shake. We were both terrified. We joined the other women on the side of the club. More people in combat uniforms were filing in, fully armed. couches were being slashed, a group of women were being handcuffed. The only noises heard were the ripping of the leather, and the heavy foot steps of combat boots. We were lined up, Tanya and I were squeezing the blood out of each other’s hands. 2 soldiers, began to sneer at us, and get a little too close. The female soldier, built like a tank, took her machine gun and half pointed it at me, she looked me up and down, thinking about her decision. She made up her mind, and passed by me.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw bricks of white stuff being taken out of the couches, including the one we had been sitting at. It dawned on me what was going on, finally. It was a drug bust, but they were searching for people to arrest.
We were allowed to go back to the table and joined the guys in our party. I sat back down. Shaking uncontrollable, feeling like I was going to throw up. Alex gave me a shot of something, he said “take it, you need it to stop shaking.” I took it, it burned all the way down. I had never had alcohol, my parents weren’t against it, but I just wasn’t into it.
We watched, the soldiers were checking bathrooms, roof tiles. We didn’t want to move, and no one was allowed in or out of the club.
My friend Tanya tried to use her cell, it was blocked. The soldiers had blocked the signal of the bar, so no one could use their phones.
I was worried about my Mother, my curfew had come and gone. My Father was on a business trip, he wouldn’t know about this. my stomach was still flipping. Alex kept squeezing my hand to see if I was alright. I just wanted to live through this night.
We were finally able to exit at 4am. I had to really focus on looking ahead, and looking like this didn’t faze me. We walked past the soldiers the female stepped closer and brushed her hand across me hair and down my back. I got the creepy feeling that she liked doing it.
We got to the car, and drove. Tears couldn’t form, I was numb. No one said anything, we were all just glad to be out, unharmed. When we approached the gate to my house. The guard leapt up and cried out, opened the gate, and rushed to give me a hug. In rapid Spanish, he declared my Mother had called the embassy, and had to convince her not to get into the car and look for me herself.
I ran into the house, my Mother was on the ground, phone in her hand, weeping. She looked up and screamed and she ran over to hug me. We both sobbed. I explained what happened, I had tears rolling down my face, and was shaking.
My Mother went to call the Embassy, Ambassador’s daughter was safe. Turned out, there had been a major blitz, the National Guard had shut down every club at the same time, and were arresting on mass.
My Mother went over to the liquor cabinet, took out some port and poured it into 2 glasses. She looked at me, and said “I can’t imagine anything happening to you.” She nodded for me to drink, it wasn’t like we had anything in the house to make us sleep. My shaking stopped, my insides began to warm up. The sun was up, I slowly felt sleepy. I later woke up curled up in the same bed as my Mother and my dog. I was still in last nights clothes. I made my way to my Mother’s shower, and got in, nothing could clean away how I felt. I knew, that I was close to being taken away, the National Guard could have taken me for ransom.
I got out, and my Mother handed me a bathrobe. Once I got it on, she couldn’t stop hugging me. We heard some chaos downstairs. My Father was leaping up the stairs, and ran to hug me. His eyes welling up with tears. Apparently, he had been called on his business trip. I had been declared missing, he didn’t know I had been found until he saw our own guard.
It was that day, that I was told I would be going back “home” to boarding school.