I woke up early the next morning and opened my eyes. It is still dark outside, I thought. Well, I guess I will have to get some more sleep. As I closed my eyes again, I thought once more of all that had happened the night before. All of us children had been anxious to learn what curtain Grandpa was talking about when he said, “Behind the curtain,” but we were shy and hesitant to ask. James said he did not want to ask; he wanted to find the curtain himself. When it was time to sleep, Della and I were given the large bedroom down the hall to sleep in. James was sleeping on the screened porch because he thought that would be lots of fun. I had no idea where Mama and Daddy were sleeping, but I thought it was likely behind the curtain. As I lie there thinking, I realized I was thirsty. I crept out of the bed, being careful not to wake Della. I slipped down the hall into the kitchen. After getting a nice long drink of water, I noticed a navy blue curtain hanging in a door frame right by the door I had just entered. I curiously peeked behind it, certain that it was the curtain Grandpa had mentioned.
Behind the curtain was a long hallway. I was bounding with uncontrollable excitement as I peeked through one of the hall’s glass doors and saw a nicely furnished study room. I was about to open another door, but then I suddenly remembered that my parents and grandparents were sleeping in one of these rooms, so I should not open any more doors. I walked slowly down the hallway, thinking of how fun it would be to open the many doors once everyone was awake. The door at the back of the hallway was made of glass as well. I peeked through and saw that it led outside to the pool! I was very excited. All of us children love to swim. Then I turned to go back to bed and realized there was a staircase right beside me! I silently crept up the narrow staircase and walked through the doorway at the top.
What I saw took my breath away. I entered a large white-walled room with five rows of chairs. At the far end of the room was a slightly elevated wooden stage with a beautiful red curtain. I wondered why in the world Gigi and Grandpa would have such a large fancy stage in their house. I walked down the center aisle and stepped gingerly onto the stage. There are no words that can describe how I felt at that grand moment. I stood up there facing the imaginary crowd and pretended I was in the middle of a show. I would have stayed on that stage forever if my curiosity didn’t compel me to explore more. I went behind the stage curtain and saw that there was a door on the far wall. I opened it and entered a backstage room. There were countless props on the back wall and on one side wall was a huge chalkboard with a table in front of it. Each of the side walls had a gable with a cushioned seat in them. I slipped over to one of the gables and looked out at the waning moon. As I saw some rays of sun creep over the horizon, I suddenly remembered that I had to get a little more sleep before everyone else woke up. I ran back onto the stage and back down the stairs swiftly. It was then that I heard footsteps. I froze suddenly.
“Is that you, Maddie?” I heard Grandpa’s voice say quietly, as Grandpa emerged from one of the rooms and carefully shut the door.
“Yes,” I answered, wondering what Grandpa would say about me being here instead of my bed.
“Ah, so you found what was behind the curtain!” he said.
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
“In the middle of the night?” he laughed.
“Yes, you see, I went to get a drink of water,” I explained.
“Very well done, Detective Maddie. You found what you were looking for! Now you must get back to bed,” he joked, shooing me back through the curtain into the kitchen. I slipped back to my bedroom, hoping I would be able to sleep after such big excitement. I climbed back into the bed and closed my eyes, thinking of how much fun James, Della, and I would have behind the curtain. My mind was bursting of fun ideas and games to play. Maybe we could put on a play on Gigi and Grandpa’s stage! I was so excited to see what lay ahead. Eventually I managed to fall asleep.
It was late in the morning when I woke up again. I turned and saw that Della was already awake. I left the room and went to the dining room. Gigi had made some oatmeal and everyone was hungrily eating.
“I hear you found the curtain, Maddie,” my brother James said excitedly with his mouth full of food.
“James, mind your manners!” Mama scolded.
“Yes, ma’am,” James mumbled.
“I heard the same thing, Maddie,” Mama said with a smile. “You went adventuring in the middle of the night?”
“Yes, I did, Mama! The special curtain is in the kitchen,” I said.
“Next time I hope you will sleep when it is nighttime,” Mama reminded.
“Yes, Mama,” I answered.
“I want to see what is behind the curtain!” Della cheered.
“Oh, yes, Della, you will see what is back there,” I replied, smiling. “Mama, did you pack our swimming gear?”
“Swimming gear? Gigi and Grandpa have a pool?” James called loudly.
“Yes, they do,” Mama answered. “I packed your swimsuits.”
“I had no idea this place was so cool!” James cheered.
After breakfast, we children looked in the other rooms I had not looked in the night before. They were pretty bedrooms–one yellow, one orange, and one green. I took them upstairs and showed them the stage and the backstage room. Then we all ran to Mama and called, “Can we play in the pool?”
“Sure,” Mama said as she handed us our swimsuits. “I’ll be out there soon to watch you.” We cheered and got our swimsuits on quickly.
“I’ll beat you to the pool!” James said to me, smiling. I ran to the kitchen, down the hallway, through the door, and out to the pool. Then I leaped into the cool, blue water, splashing some up at James. Then he jumped in and splashed me! We both roared.
“Maddie, James,” came Della’s voice, as she and Mama came out to the pool. “I am here to play too!” She grabbed a float and joined us in the pool. We raced, dove, splashed, and joked. It was a wonderful morning.