Each night before bed as a 6 year old kid, I would make my bed and arrange my 20 stuffed animals as if they were being put on display at a retail store. Then I would turn off the light and slip under the covers as carefully as possible so as not to unmake the bed or disturb the stack of stuffed animals.
I would place my head under my pillow and slide up against the wall as closely as I could. That’s where I would stay for the next eight hours as I tried to sleep, quiet and immobile.
In my mind, if any ghosts or monsters came into my room at night they wouldn’t be able to tell that I was asleep. The ghost or monster would peer into the room and see a perfectly made bed with a stack of perfectly arranged stuffed animals. No way a ghost or monster would think someone was actually in that bed asleep.
I was terrified of sleeping in the dark and I was afraid of sleeping in a house alone. It’s a fear that has never completely left me. I still get terrified when the girls are out of town and I’m by myself.
Sometimes I wonder what Addie does to keep from being scared. So far, I haven’t noticed any particular habits. And I can only remember a couple times when Addie has even admitted to being scared.
The first time was after we watched The Goonies. To be fair to Addie, I was ridiculously scared of Sloth for years after I watched that movie. The other time was after she had been hanging out with some of the neighborhood boys who were trying bully her. They decided to tell Addie that there was an old dead woman living in the forest behind our house, and that the old dead woman wandered around in the woods with a chainsaw and cut anyone in half who dared venture into her path. They also told Addie that the old woman had killed a few people in the neighborhood and that they had seen her a few times when they were playing in their backyards.
Addie was terrified when she came home that day. Casey tried to improve the situation better by telling Addie that the boys were just being boys and there wasn’t an old dead woman in the woods with a chainsaw. Addie, however, wouldn’t let it go. In her mind, those boys had been living in the neighborhood longer than we had and they would know better than my wife.
We got a second shot at soothing Addie’s fears, and I decided to take a different approach. I told Addie that there wasn’t a dead woman living in the forest with a chainsaw and that we would sleep outside in the woods that night to prove it. Addie’s face went white with fear. She immediately told me that she didn’t believe the boys anymore and that there wasn’t a dead woman living in the woods behind the house.
jerk lawyer in me saw an opening and I took it. I said, “Well, if you don’t believe that the dead woman lives in the woods, then you won’t have a problem sleeping out there tonight.”
Addie recognized her mistake and came up with other excuses why she couldn’t sleep outside that night. We never really heard about the dead woman living in the woods again and I don’t think we will for quite a while.
At least, not until I dress up in a white sheet and a woman’s wig and stand in the woods on Halloween while holding a chainsaw.
Photo Credit: Flickr
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