Be Not Afraid

Is there anything more terrifying than things that go ‘bump’ in the night? Yes, in fact, there is. It’s hearing things go ‘bump’ in the night when you’re all alone and pretending you’re not pooping your pants in fear. Such was the case last weekend when I had to face the unknown alone and afraid. Quite frankly, I’m amazed I survived.

April, scared, holds both the dogs tightly.

            My husband, Jeremy, had left in the early morning on a business trip (that lucky !$#@*%). I’d survived the day with my precious offspring (barely) and was hanging onto my sanity with my fingernails. After a long, torturous dinner, and an eternity spent wrangling Molly and Andy into their beds, I was dog-tired. The kitchen was a mess. I had peanut butter in my hair, but I was too exhausted to care. I collapsed on the couch, switched on the tv, and turned my brain off. I just needed to rest my eyes for a few seconds…..

            Thump. What was that? Groggily, I opened my eyes. What time was it? As I struggled to return to my senses, one glimpse at our dog sent an icicle of fear through my heart. Teddy was alert on the couch, his muscles tensed like an Olympic sprinter. Then I heard it again: thump. Teddy’s fur stood on end, his eyes staring a hole down the hallway, and his lips curled back into a growl. “Oh no, what do I do what do I do? It’s the $)(%&@*($)*%^ boogeyman! I need an adult!” I thought wildly, scrambling to my feet. I considered phoning Jeremy, but he was a six-hour car ride away. He wouldn’t have the fastest response time. Thump, came the sound again, and I trembled with fear. “It’s nothing, okay?” I thought rationally, “what are the odds that a serial killer is knocking on my back door? Pretty slim.” Curiously, ‘pretty slim’ did nothing to calm me down! Wait a minute – if the sound was coming from downstairs, that meant my sleeping children could be in danger! My heart hammering in my throat, I went down the stairs as quietly as I could, with Teddy close at my heels. This bad guy better prepare himself for twelve pounds of fury!

            The hallway was dark and still. Thump, came the sound, much louder this time. Oh no! It was coming from Andy’s room! Steeling myself and grabbing a broom for protection, I clutched the door handle and flung it wide……  only to find my little son, peacefully sleeping. The sound, however, continued. I relaxed. The dog looked pleased and important. See, what happened is this: Andy must have gotten out of bed and turned on his little desktop fan. As it swung back and forth, it pushed his piggy bank onto an angle, and when it rotated back, the piggy bank ‘thumped’ onto his desk. Exhaling loudly, I quickly turned the fan off, made sure Andy was still asleep, then left his room with a sigh of relief. See? No serial killers here!

            Curse my overactive imagination! Here I am, a mature, independent woman, scaring myself to death for no reason. I would’ve laughed if I wasn’t so embarrassed. At least the dog was pleased with himself; he puffed his chest out and harumphed loudly. He’d fulfilled his guard dog duty. With a sigh, I double-checked the doors and windows, then shuffled into bed, where I spent the next hour convincing myself that the sounds I heard were normal (the boiler turning on, the dog sneezing) and not precursors to my imminent death. All I can say is: next time something goes ‘bump’ in the night, it better be when my husband is home!