It sucks when John is out of town. Thank god all the long Navy deployments are over; he’s only away for a few days this time. It’s still an adjustment because I’ve had him home most of the time for over a year now. It’s not too bad; I only have two kids in the house to care for so I shouldn’t complain, but he’s such a big help when he’s home; taking out the trash, driving the girls around, walking the dogs with me, allowing me to use him as a foot warmer in bed at night, and keeping me safe from any potential intruders/large bugs/mice/ghosts.
I said ghosts.
I’m not sure I believe in ghosts. As with all things spiritual or otherworldly, I’m an evangelical agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you. But that’s just it. I don’t know, and that scares the hell out of me because sometimes weird things happen.
Years ago, we lived in Navy housing on Coronado Island in California. It was a beautiful neighborhood, nestled between the San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. My fifteen year old, who was three at the time, came and hopped up on my bed with me one day. She looked over at my closet, looked back at me with her serious blue eyes, and told me about a man who lived in it (the closet, that is). “He used to have kids,” she told me in her ominously creepy, straight-out-of-a-horror movie three year old voice. John was on deployment at the time so I’m not sure if I slept that night but closet doors scare the hell out of me to this day.
We’ve lived in our current house for almost nine years. Not too long ago, probably on John’s last deployment, the girls and I were sitting downstairs watching TV when we heard what sounded an awful lot like footsteps on the second floor. Hysterical panic ensued, of course. I grabbed a pizza peel as a weapon (like you do.) The middle girls probably grabbed a shoe or something else that would probably only piss off an intruder were they to throw it at him/her/it, but Jilly, being the genius that she is, grabbed a fireplace poker. I stopped freaking out momentarily to admire her self defense skills, then….I have no idea what happened next. I’ve blocked it from my memory. I want to think that I didn’t make the girls go upstairs to see what was upstairs while I cowered downstairs. I really hope I told them to wait downstairs while I bravely went to confront whatever it might have been, or at the very least maybe we all went up together, but I just don’t know. The girls probably remember, and I would ask them, but just in case I was a big wussy that night, I don’t want to jar their memories. They give me a hard enough time as it is. Where did the footsteps come from? I don’t know. Maybe the cats put boots on and stomp around sometimes.
So, like I said, John went out of town for Navy stuff this week. The first night he was gone, I kept my TV viewing light and watched a little Here Comes Honey Boo Boo before bed. Last night I wanted something a little more substantial so I decided on Rosemary’s Baby. I’ve seen it a hundred times; it’s one of my all time favorite movies but John’s not a big fan of old scary movies like I am, so it was perfect, right? I enjoyed it, and when it was over I went to sleep. Around 5:00am I got up to pee, then went back to bed. Elvis heard me, and insulted that I didn’t come downstairs immediately to let him out so he could pee as well, he started crying; loud, pitiful Boxer sobs. I tried to ignore him, but he just kept on whimpering. I hopped back out of bed and as I stepped out of my room, the hall light came on. By itself. The kids were both still in bed. I looked behind me. Nobody. I looked in front of me. Nobody. Elvis was losing his mind by this point so I ran downstairs to let him out, because even though I was terrified of running into that creepy guy from Poltergeist 2 or maybe The Count from Sesame Street ( I had a nightmare about him once and he still scares me) the thought of cleaning up the early morning urine of an eighty five pound boxer scared me more.
I tried once again to go back to sleep, but as it happens when you’re terrified that something unseen might be playing with your light switches, I lay there awake until it was time to get up and make the kids breakfast. Was it my imagination? Did the movie get to me? Not really. Other than being overly annoyed at what a tool Rosemary Woodhouse’s husband was, I wasn’t really bothered by the movie. Maybe our electrical wiring is faulty. The thought of that is more terrifying than a ghost. Or a scaly demon who wants to beget his spawn on one of us. Electricians are expensive.
The good thing is that I’m not terribly emotionally invested in this house. If crazy stuff starts happening, I’m not hiring a psychic midget to come in and do a cleansing or doing whatever stupid people in horror movies do when they know bad things are about to happen. I’m packing up and leaving. The fact that we can’t grow grass in our front yard is evidence enough that either a band of roving ne’er-do-wells salted our property at one time or we’re sitting on top of a haunted burial ground. I’ll be long gone before skeletons start popping up in my yard.
And I’m definitely taking the pizza peel and the fireplace poker to bed with me tonight.