In the early years of our marriage J was a sales executive so he traveled 2-3 weeks out of the month. We had a beautiful new home in SLC and it came with a security system so I never questioned my safety. After my MS diagnosis when I was on extremely high doses of IV steroids I had horrible insomnia for months and as dreadful and scary as that time was I found peace walking through our house and watching the way the moon shifted on the walls or played against the carpet. I would stand still for long minutes listening to the silence or sit outside on our front steps watching the night sky, feeling calmed and peacefully in the moment- something I could not achieve during the day. Even if I was alone I was never frightened.
I still love darkness and night-time but now when J travels I’m less comfortable. We don’t have a security system but we live in a semi-rural neighborhood and all of our neighbors have dogs that bark incessantly at their own shadows so the fear is not quite rational and that’s the crux. While some of my fear is of a person or persons breaking in I’m also concerned that malicious otherworld intruders are out there. This is why watching Paranormal Activity several months ago was probably not a good idea- even though Jed was home at the time. Scary scary stuff ala Blair Witch.
I fall asleep each night that J is gone reveling in the luxury of the entire bed to myself and with the knowledge that no operatic cacophony of snores will awaken me. But at some point my slumber is disturbed by a sharp noise. Was that in our room or out in the neighborhood? Human or animal? Best not to open my eyes and be faced with what I’m certain are my last moments. The noise again and now I’m wide awake and motionless. I realize that my left arm is flung outside the covers and hovering perilously close to the edge of the bed. Not good. Everyone knows that demons and night monsters can’t get on the bed but if you are foolish enough to let an appendage hang over the side you may find it encircled by a furred clawed hand in preparation to being pulled off the bed and into the bowels of hell.
I lay, heart pounding, stomach churning, and hand carefully pulled back under the covers waiting for what I know will be my gruesome demise. Netherworld creatures are not known for compassion. You suffer before you die. By now I’m sweating but have no more intention of throwing off the covers than I do of turning on the light. One means instantaneous death and the other, well, do you really want to see the hounds of hell? Plus, I have forgotten to mention that my eyesight is slightly better than that of Mr. Magoo so I am utterly defenseless. I don’t even own a rosary anymore (note to self- if you survive, buy rosary and keep under pillow).
Finally, after what seems like hours I succumb to sleep and awake to another sunny day. Do I laugh at my foolish night-time self? Not likely. It’s not until I unlock the bedroom door and ascertain there are no demonic remains piled in the hall that I can stride out into the day. All night terrors have been vanquished and I can go back to dealing with real life.