Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
“Shhhh shhhh, it’s okay baby, I’m here now.” She coos into my ear, stroking my feverish cheek as I sit still in her gentle embrace. She hums a soft tune I’ve never heard before.
I can’t believe it’s already been a whole hour since I first woke up, and I’m still shaking.
I had opened my eyes to the silent, still room. I normally had my little table fan on when I went to bed. I can’t sleep without hearing something, anything. My Scooby-Doo night light had turned out as well. That I definitely can’t sleep without. I sit up in my bed, the covers to my chin and I look around the dark room. My eyes just barely able to see from the faint glow of the streetlights outside and the pale glow of the waning crescent moon.
With nothing seeming out of the ordinary, beside the eerie silence and the lack of a glowing dog head, I cautiously slip out of bed and over to the fan. Flicking it on, it’s wiring back to life and churning the stiff, dead air calms me. I stumble over the blanket wrapped around me and replug the florescent hero hound back into the electrical socket.
Rolling back into bed and getting comfy, I glance over at my clock in the distance and … I always get my twos and threes mixed up. Either way, it was much too late/early for me to be up past my bedtime.
Moments late, maybe a few seconds or several minutes I don’t know, I wake up again to the sound of a car horn. The first thing I notice is that my room is yet again dark and quiet. No fan and no Scooby. The second thing I notice: my window is open.
Now, I know without a doubt that I close my window before going to bed; for fear a bat might come in through it and suck my blood or turn me into a vampire or whatever else they do in Daddy’s scary movies. I call out to my parents in a fit of shaky panic.
Maybe ten seconds later, they rush in. Daddy wielding his old baseball bat and Mommy with a phone in one hand and Grammy’s knitting needles in the other. They both look around for a good minute and then over at me concerned, finding nothing awry or aflame. I lay out the spiel of my plea for help and they both take a relaxed breath. Daddy goes to my window, looks out at the grass a full story below and closes my window. Stating, matter-of-factly, that the latch has just been worn and that it must have opened on its own. Mommy sits beside me on the bed and tossles my hair. They both reassure me that everything is okay and that if I want, I can sleep in bed with them for tonight. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I finally say no after some deliberation with them and with myself and they leave. Oh, why did they leave. Why did they have to leave me here alone.
I’m still shaking. And my throat keeps tightening and I let out a little whine every once in a while. Each time, she stiffens and stops humming her lullaby. This last time, she nearly jumps at my little yip and she leans forward. Her lips just centimetres from my ear. She whispers softly, sweetly, “Shhhh, it’s okay. I’m here now.” She relaxes and continues petting me, “You wouldn’t want to wake up your parents, now would you?”
Credit: Alexander W