I’ve been sitting on my couch staring at a blinking cursor for a while now. I’ve been on Facebook four or five times, scrolling through Twitter far too many times to count, and have sipped several cups of coffee while the cursor consistently blinks in the background; these are the only words I’ve written in hours. The only words I’ve written in hours. The cursor has been taunting me since 8 a.m. and it’s almost 11.
I’ll be honest–I went on some writing prompt sites in order to get some ideas on what to write about today. It’s like porn for writers and I feel guilty. I feel dirty and need a shower. I feel like I “should” be able to come up with my own form of mental stimulation as an adult, but, dammit, writers need help every once in a while, and today is one of those days. My head is not in this game, and because I know it, I’m going to give myself permission to suck on this blog post. Yes, folks, you’re reading a sucky post. It’s probably not the first and it definitely won’t be the last.
The writing prompt I’ve chosen is about childhood fears. My greatest childhood fear was that of the boogeyman, and this fear came out the strongest at my grandparent’s house in Honey Pot, Pennsylvania. That’s probably because Honey Pot was a town situated in the hills of PA, right near abandoned coal mines. There were so many trees, too, a very dense forest to the left and to the right of my grandparent’s home. A great place for a kidnapper to spend his days lying in wait.
Every night, after taking a bath and putting on pajamas, I’d have some ice cream and sit with my grandpa and watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I loved Johnny not only because of the fond memories hanging out with my grandpa but because he helped me forget about the upcoming trauma I was about to face. The act of going to bed. Dun duh dun!
After being told for the last time to go to bed, I’d get up from my place on the couch and head toward the stairs. I’d turn on the light at the bottom of the stairs and look up to see if the light prompted anything to move. The funny thing about the first bedroom is that the wall to the stairs was only a pony wall, so if something was going to move, I would have seen it. This is important to a small child. After blinking and making sure nothing had moved, I’d walk slowly up each stair, inching my way up the carpeted pathway until I got to the top.
There were two bedrooms upstairs and they were connected–in hindsight, it was a very weird set-up. Imagine an upstairs where there are two bedrooms and they’re connected by a door. Talk about no privacy! And to make matters worse, they had a sort of Jack-and-Jill closet so the boogeyman could have easy access to both bedrooms.
If I didn’t see anything move, then I’d proceed to the bed and turn down the covers after closing the blinds. I needed the bed covers to be turned down so that I could get into the bed as quickly as possible and cover up my body parts. No need wasting time moving bedding when time was of the essence!
Turning down the bed and heading back toward the light switch was when I knew I was committed to going to bed. I’d stand at the light and psyche myself up to turn the light off because I knew that the moment the lightbulb was off, the timer started clicking. You see, I had 20 seconds to jump into bed to safety and cover up all my body parts before the boogeyman started grasping at me from underneath the bed.
Flicking the switch to off was the single most bravest thing I did on a daily basis, and I did it with anxiety and a wobbly tummy.
Here’s the play-by-play of what it was like for me to go to bed when I was younger:
1.) Turn off the light.
2.) Take a leap onto the bed as far away from the bed as possible–didn’t want the boogeyman doing any pre-bed grabbing of my legs.
3.) Cover my entire body with the blankets, including my head.
4.) Shiver from fear and wait in dread of the boogeyman coming to get me. My eyes wide open staring at complete darkness.
5.) Debate myself on whether or not to take my head out from under the covers. Wasn’t entirely sure I was safe but was getting hot and needing some oxygen.
6.) Slowly removing the blanket from my head and waiting for the boogeyman’s hands to start grabbing me and dragging me off to the hole to Hell at the back of the closet.
7.) When nothing happened, my breathing would slow to normal, and after hearing the clinking of the radiator, I would promptly pass out.
I sincerely hope that nobody suffered this much trauma simply going to bed as a child. If you did, I’m sorry–I totally get it. I’m not sure when I stopped being afraid but to this day when I’m sometimes home alone, I swear the boogeyman has followed me.