Thursday October 31, 2013
The following could be based on true events.
Unnecessary lavender candle perfectly centered on my coffee table. Check.
Light that candle; dim those lights down just a notch below where you’d usually start feeling comfortable taking articles of clothing off. Grab the remote; it’s movie time.
And on this particular evening it’s scary movie time.
The wife loves to make fun of me because she thinks I’m scared of scary movies. Grown man, father, have a decent grasp on realty, and she thinks I’m scared that the man with a chainsaw and hockey mask is just casually going to show up asking if he can borrow the olive oil.
Tonight happens to be a special occasion for yours truly. The wife is having her first night out since the baby was born, which means it’s also the first night by myself watching our son. To cap it off it just so happens to be Halloween.
Trick or Treaters are gone, the baby will be sound asleep for at least 45 minutes and the wife is out the door.
Movie of choice? The only choice, Silence of the Lambs. Perfect.
Pop open a bottle of Merlot, slide into my night gown and it’s about as sad as scene as there ever was.
What I enjoy most about Silence of the Lambs is that it’s one of those emotionally complex movies. Great acting, but it also perfectly captures one of my biggest fears- being eaten alive.
Whenever you’re having an “All-Star Day,” sit back and think about all the details of someone else just casually taking a big bite out of your shoulder and see if that doesn’t screw things up for the next 20 minutes.
The movie ends which perfectly sets my mood for a most comfortable night of sleep. The wife’s not home so she’s having fun and the baby only woke up twice. Let’s see how long I can snooze for. I close my eyes…
A Father’s Scary Story
- 12:02 am: Keys rattling by the lock of the front door. The wife is home. Keys drop on the floor. Keys, again, rattling by the lock of the front door. Keys drop on the floor. The wife is drunk. I chuckle as I roll over and nod back off.
- 12:04 am: Lights flicker, then dim, soft footsteps. My wife was wearing heels when she left, right? I guess she took them off.
- 12:16 am: Did my internal monologue just wake me up? I guess I can’t fall back asleep if I ask myself a question. Roll over to check the wife’s pulse, but reach over to grasp nothing but a cold pillow. Check the clock. She’s home 15 minutes, what’s she doing? But wait, did she come in the door? I don’t actually remember her coming through the door.
- 12:17 am: The puppy cries in the other room. Two slow moans followed by an abrupt, high pitched yelp. He doesn’t make that sound with her. I’ve actually never heard him make that sound before. Let’s assume for a second that I’m completely over-reacting. The wife is home, maybe asleep on the couch and the dog just needs to go out. That’s fine, why don’t I just get up and let the dog out? Not a big deal. Or let’s assume that the wife isn’t home and the noises I’m hearing are in my head. Our house is old and Buffalo Bill in a skin suit is fresh on my apparently edible brain. Either way, we’re all good, no need to worry. All good.
- 12:19 am: The back door (a door thats sole purpose is to let the dog in and out of the house) slams shut! F%&k, someone’s in my house.
- 12:20 am: At this point everything that has ever happened in my life has boiled down to one simple sequence; Get my son and get out of my house. Fear is an understatement. This is one of those sinking feelings that you try and block out while clearing your mind for the plan of attack. Instincts take over when I reach for my night vision goggles only to accidently knock over the glass of water on my dresser. Run and get him! Slam open the bedroom door, loud tree trunk footsteps and the announcement that I have several semi-automatic weapons in my underoos. The idiot in me assumed that may have worked, but as I reached my son’s bedroom and looked down into a crib filled with moonlight the gut-wrenching fear finally sunk in. My son is gone.
- 12:22 am: Panic as I sprint for the front door. My mind shuts off. This isn’t about calling the police or what I’m going to say to my wife when she comes home. This is about me tracking down the raving lunatic that took my son. This is about me commandeering the motorcycle that is going to be conveniently running right outside my front door and racing down one-way streets the wrong way, running red lights, scaling buildings, crashing through windo… A soft squeak from the toy that I just tripped over. The sensation of zero gravity as I missed the first steps heading downstairs. The loud thud of my tumbling body going head first into the railing as I summersault my way down to the bottom.
- 12:24am: As I regain consciousness a faint song, “Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop.” I shake off a mild head wound and an undoubtedly dislocated shoulder. Follow that noise. Cruel laughter that would make the Joker look in the mirror for more inspiration. The kitchen, it’s coming from the kitchen.
- 12:25am: I burst through the door expecting half clown, half demon to be holding my son hostage. How am I going to be able to handle seeing my baby like this? How could I have failed so miserably so quickly? Please let him be okay. He has to be okay. “When the wind blows…” A babies soft, innocent chuckle. As I turn past our kitchen island I see a refrigerator door wide open, a glassy eyed, rosy cheeked wife laying on the floor and my son politely sitting next to her. “Oh, hey babe, did we wake you? W started crying when I got home so I figured he was hungry.” She continues, “Maybe he wasn’t hungry, but I’m hungry so this is what’s happening right now.” I smile and head to the freezer to grab an ice pack. I’m not a failure. He’s okay and that’s all that matters.
And that’s the story of the first time my son ever tried left over chicken fried rice.
Have you ever been scared while home alone? Share your story in the comment section below!