I find it more than mildly amusing – and also more than mildly disturbing – that I live in the country, considering that I am afraid of the dark.
Yes, I said it.Â I’m afraid of the dark!Â I’m not going to deny my big wussiness any more.Â I do not like the dark.
But, as always, there is more to the story than me just not liking the dark, because that statement is not entirely true.Â I love the dark – as long as I’m not alone in it.Â That’s the key thing, right there.Â Got a friend (or a fiance) with me, and I’m okay!Â I’m all good!Â Yay, dark!Â Hello, moon, aren’t you shiny and silver tonight?!Â Hello, Orion, favorite of all constellations!Â Hello. . . shining eyes.Â I suppose you must belong to a raccoon or something, because I’ve got my friend (or fiance) here with me.Â If I were alone, I’m sure you would be a scary, mean monsterman come to GET me, but since I’m not alone, you are benign.
BUT, if you remove the friend (or fiance) from the equation, I’m not so happy anymore.Â Actually, I’m not so happy at all.Â And I know that there is really nothing to be afraid of.Â I have told myself this many times, over and over.Â While smoking a cigarette on the front porch.Â While laying in bed.Â While spot-checking the back seat of the car for axe-murderers.Â I KNOW that there is nothing there, nothing is going to get me.Â But I can’t convince my heart of that – it pounds.Â I can’t convince the more instinctual parts of my brain – it releases adrenaline.Â I can’t convince my lungs – they start to take in air more quickly.Â Soon, I have to get away from the dark.Â Go inside.Â Hide under the covers.Â Turn all the lights on.Â Something.
I was thinking about this whole thing the other day – my fear of the dark and when it started.Â Because I know I wasn’t always like this.Â I used to love running around in the dark when I was a kid.Â I played Bloody Murder and flashlight tag and all the other “run around until someone breaks a leg” games that kids play.Â I used to spend nights sleeping outdoors with my friends with no tent, and I’d never worry about anything getting me, other than a curious opossum.Â But one day that all changed, and the Fear of The Dark was instilled in me.
My sister was dating this guy.Â I was about 11 years old, my sister was 17, and this guy was probably 21.Â She must have been baby-sitting me, or maybe I was her alibi (can’t do anything too bad with baby sister tagging along), but anyway, she took me to The Guy’s house for the day.Â They hung out together, and I hung out with The Guy’s Stepsister, who I’ll call Heather, because I think that was her name.Â I haven’t seen her since then, so whatever.
My sister and The Guy were somewhere, probably making out or swimming in the pool or whatever.Â Heather and I were hanging out under an old apple tree, talking about Barbie and My Little Pony and whatever 11 year old girls talked about back then.Â I don’t know how the subject came up, but she started telling me scary stories — not particularly GOOD scary stories.Â The kind of scary stories 11 year old girls tell around the campfire at Girl Scout Camp.Â But, honestly, I don’t think until that point I’d been exposed to too many scary stories.Â I had never been to “sleep away” camp or anything, and me and my friends had better things to do – like run wild in the woods like heathens – than tell ghost stories.
Anyway, Heather is telling me these stories, and I’m listening, but not particularly interested or impressed, until she starts telling me this one story about a spirit that would come out of the closet and kill children in their sleep, even when they were sleeping between their parents.Â I do believe the name of the spirit was. . . wait for it. . . The Boogie Man.Â Yes, you can laugh now.Â Thank you.Â Anyway, I don’t remember the particulars of the story, but the gist of it was that The Boogie Man would always come three nights in a row.Â The first two nights were more of warnings, but the third night he always killed the kid.
I don’t know why that particular story got to me so bad.Â No freaking idea.Â But it did.Â Scared the shit out of me, actually.Â And I was fully aware, even at 11, that I was being stupid, getting scared of The Boogie Man, I mean how generic can you get?Â But it didn’t matter.Â I told Heather I didn’t want to hear anymore ghost stories, and we resumed talking about Barbies and/or My Little Pony.
That night was the first time ever that my mother had to sit with me until I fell asleep.Â I literally could NOT be in my bedroom alone without crying.Â She had to sit there, with a light on, holding my hand, until I passed out.Â Needless to say, she was pissed.Â She tried various ways of getting me to see reason — logic, threats, pleading — it didn’t matter.Â If I remember correctly, she had to sit in my room for at least four nights.Â After that, she cut me off and I had to deal with my newfound Fear of the Dark.
That one stupid story has left me with a few quirks and mannerisms.Â Among them:
- I do not like to leave the closet door open at night.
- I can no longer listen to scary stories or watch scary movies.Â The last time I broke this rule – to see The Blair Witch Project – I was working second shift.Â After work, I would drive directly to the Youngest Miller Boy’s house and would not leave until 6 AM when the sun started to come up.
- I do not like to walk through a dark house, so there are night lights all over the place in my house.
- I have to have a cell phone on me at all times, because I will never walk down a dark road at night to get to a pay phone if I need to.
- I no longer like to camp, which I used to enjoy quite a bit.
So, all this taken into consideration, it is quite amazing that I wanted a house in the country.Â I actually chose to live in a place that has no streetlights.Â A place where if I were to be murdered in my bedroom, the neighbors would never hear my shrieks.Â A place that has a basement with a scary (but now drained) cistern, which could possibly hold dead bodies and/or zombie monsters.
But, even my fear of things that go bump in the night, I can’t regret coming back to the country.Â I love to see the stars.Â I love sitting with my friends around a bonfire, drinking beers and smoking cigarettes.Â I love all the birds I get at my feeders.Â I love the fact that we don’t get much traffic on our road.Â I love the quiet night.Â As long as it stays quiet.