Monday, September 19, 2011

In the Dark

I suck in a quick, sharp breath, waking suddenly from a noise outside my dream. My eyes pop open and my brain becomes alert as I start thinking, analyzing, wondering if I’d simply recalled a sound from the past that presented itself in my dream, yet I know that a person draws noises into dreams from present sounds.

Breathless and panicked, my mind jumps back a minute. It sounded like a creaking door. Which doors creak when moved? Slowly, silently, I raise my head from the pillow, exposing my other ear to the air. Petrified and alone, I wish my heart wouldn’t pound so loudly. The guy in my house will hear it and find me.

I finally muster enough courage to glance up at the clock. It’s 1:47 a.m. Four hours till dawn when I can see without switching on a light. My mouth is dry, and I have to pee. Do prowlers let you use the bathroom before they attack? After five minutes, only the memory of a noise remains in my mind and no others have taken its place. What sounded so close and clear is muffled, farther away, nonexistent.

Quietly, gently, I push myself away from the sheets, small flashlight in hand, and head for the bathroom. Playing it safe and taking the risk of wetting the floor, I grab my heavy Mag-Lite, hold my bladder, and case the upper level. The guy in my house could be waiting for the sound of trickling water and pounce when he hears the flush. Of course it’s a guy. Nighttime intruders are always guys—bad guys.

The coast is clear on the upper level, and Shiloh isn’t barking a warning downstairs. I feel relieved—well slightly, after all, it’s still dark—and head back to my scary, corner bedroom.

Strange sounds and thoughts live in the murky swamplands of a dark mind at two in the morning. Noises inside a head can be worse than those outside of it. Eerie nighttime creaks and groans bring chills, goose bumps, and make me pray for light. The thought of every bad thing that has ever happened and will happen, every scary tale or movie, especially when based on a true story, invades a normal, optimistic mind that’s now choking for oxygen as it lies comatose northward from my barely moving chest.

Realizing by this time that sleep and my brain won’t be making love, I continue my chilly, damp labyrinth walk alone. As high-pitched tinnitus waves ebb and flow, ambient sounds amplify and subside.
I recall a psychic, aura-seeing minister at my monthly meeting who asked me who the three figures in my music room were. He described the spirits as his wife added details. I felt, shall I say, uneasy for months, so upon awakening nights, I found it a better choice to keep my eyes closed rather than look at who might be watching me.

When I used to sleep with Satan, he’d be drunk on Jack Daniels and breathe his snoring breath on me throughout the night, and other times he’d think I was sleeping and whisper demonic names and evil things toward me—words I would never say out loud and try never to think. Ungodliness abounds in his fearful mind.

Silence clears the air. During the day, silence is a treasure far away from my home. In darkness, most of the camouflage of daytime noise is stripped as bare as I feel. Every creak, crack, and thump screams its sinister intent. Aches and pains grow uncontrollably, from knowing I worked too long in the yard to wondering if I’m dying of cancer. Incomplete projects morph into nefarious physical forms. Inner tumult from worry about money, kids, home repair, and relationships are all exacerbated while another part of my mind begs for stillness, tranquility, restoration, peace.

Relationship noise can be the worst. Like entering a dungeon, heavy iron gates slam behind me as I enter my room. Every word spoken between me and the other person is reinterpreted a hundred ways, each worse than the last. I see every twist of body language, feel desperate, smell my dank isolation. I know the other person hears my thoughts. He’s probably thinking the same thing under sweet, warm covers, smiling.

Strangely, a glow touches my eyelids. I realize I slept from 4:30 till 6:30.

And then, grrrrr-owl. What the… I realize, the freaky sound that awakened me at 1:47 was only my gut.

Guts. The only thing I lacked all night.

3 comments:

  1. WE ALL HAVE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE ALONE, UNDER STRESS, AND HAVE TROUBLE SLEEPING. HOWEVER WHEN YOU HEAR STRANGE NOISES IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO CHECK IT OUT.

    BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT IS ONLY THE HOUSE SETTLING, WHICH THEY DO QUITE OFTEN.
    JIM

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  2. Maybe if you wouldn't eat beans before bedtime you won't hear scary noises. ;-)

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  3. The picture gave me a start, I'm guessing MJB from the archives. Maybe best for us all if given back or burned, like the phoenix. Sometimes sounds in the night are our own screams.

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