Once upon a time, there lived a fairly unremarkable family. Mom, dad, 2 kids, and a dog. They went about their business in the usual fashion. Household chores, work, school, extracurricular activities, 3 square meals per day. The morning sun peaked through the front window, beaming onto shiny hair and sparkling eyes. The ticking clock marked the time, keeping them on schedule.
Through winter months, mom dreams of the warm breeze and green grass. Dad dreams of powder-covered slopes. The children dream of snowmen and snowball fights. Days pass and days get longer. Their imaginations occupy the drearier moments of each passing hour.
For children, imaginations can take you anywhere. Puppies are queens, ponies are princesses, and they’re going to the ball. Blankets can talk to us and give us hugs. Monkeys make funny faces and share their toys with us. Imaginations can also get carried away. To dark places with scary music. The age of 2.5 has brought creepiness into our home.
When Sophia was 2.5, she heard noises. With her pale skin and messy hair, she would look at me with haunted eyes and whisper ‘what’s that noise coming from behind the wall?’ At night she would wake up scared and crying, eyeing the walls suspiciously. Aside from hoping that my child wasn’t possessed, I hoped she would learn to sleep through the night again. We spent several months tired and bleary-eyed.
Simon, just now 2.5, has started telling me about ‘the ghosts’ in his room. Upon further questioning, I find that they are ‘bad, not good’ ghosts, and that there are several of them travelling through his room at any given moment. Sometimes they hide in his closet, come down from the attic, and sleep under his bed. With an expansive and dramatic sweep of his arm, he says ‘don’t you see ALL the scary ghosts, mommy?’
Sigh. I guess we all have our inner demons and flights of fancy to contend with. Sometimes I think I hear sounds too. And they wake me up. In my half-lucid state, I may believe it’s a noise coming from behind the wall. I may see bad ghosts floating behind my heavy-lidded eyes. This sound makes me feel panicky. My heart races when I hear it. Anxiety stabs me awake. When I strain to hear it again, it’s gone, and I’m left with my husband’s snoring. My ‘scary sound’ is not coming from something paranormal. It’s from something strangely normal in our house. And it’s coming from the next room. Sometimes my imagination becomes my reality. And I’d rather it stay hidden behind the wall.