I walked into my house last night and everything was wrong. All the appliances were old and corroded, the fridge door was off its hinges and flies were swarming around whatever was left inside to rot. I dialed for a pizza, but when the guy asked me my address I couldn’t remember it so I ran outside to find all the house numbers on the ground. I didn’t know which order they had been in.
“It could be 5-6-7 or maybe 7-6-5. I’m not sure. Hang on, let me ask my husband,” I said to the pizza guy. But when I went to find Richard he was behind some really thick glass and I couldn’t reach him. He seemed to be trapped in the room he was in, looking for a way out, but he couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t help him. I ran outside to look for an outside door to the room he was in, but instead I found a man dressed in a business suit rummaging through a dumpster. He looked like he was starving to death.
“I can get you something to eat if you want. I’m hungry too,” I said. He looked up at me and smiled, but his eyes were vacant. Then he looked down at his belly and I followed his eyes. There was blood seeping through his shirt as if he’d been shot in the stomach. It was so disgusting I went to throw up.
Just then I woke up with a start to hear Violet screaming, “Mommy, there’s a ghost in my room!”
The picture of the bleeding man began to fade as I registered the time: 2:30 am. Violet was breaking down in sobs. I swung my legs over the side of the bed trying to shake my nightmare that was actually starting to make sense. It was some weird combination in my brain of putting our house up for sale, Richard working hard fixing it up without me, the growing hunger problems in America that I keep reading about and the final shot of the 30 Rock episode I watched the night before where Michael Keaton gets shot in the stomach.
I went into Violet’s room where she was crying loudly with her eyes closed and her feet hanging off the bed. Her little head was jerking from side to side.
“There’s monsters in my room!” She was terrified. I resisted the urge to correct. There ARE monsters in your room.
“No, honey there aren’t any monsters.”
“There are too monsters. They have black eyes and they have white faces!”
“Monsters would have a pretty hard time getting by Jackson. He’s right outside guarding your door. Would you want to fight with Jackson if you were a monster?”
“Do you see any monsters here when you open your eyes?”
She sat up on her elbows and rubbed her eyes before taking a long look around her room.
“Just you, Mommy.”
“Well, I’m not a monster.”
“I need some juice.”
“Okay, I’ll get you some juice.”
“But I want you to stay with me.”
“Should I get you some juice and then come back and stay with you in your bed?”
I went to get Violet’s juice and contemplated the monster nightmare she’s been having since the Halloween party at her daycare last Friday night. Richard and I dressed up as day of the dead style skeletal zombies and she was quite impressed by it. She was dressed as a butterfly / fairy herself (adorable!) but by the end of the night wanted me to get my face paint so that she could be like Mommy and Daddy. I gave her the paint and she went to town before we took this family portrait:
I think the image of her Mommy and Daddy as skeletons was cool while the party was happening, but then it stewed in her brain and became scary later on. She’s having a hard time shaking it. And last night when she called out to me, she had caught me in a dream that was busy scaring the hell out of me!
Ever since my nervous breakthrough I’ve been learning how to calm myself and meditate on not letting demons of any kind get to me. There’s simply no need to focus on death and pain and scary shit when you can instead focus on positive, life-affirming things, like your amazing child, for example. But what do you do when your child is scared shitless?
You have to be the one who is absolutely certain that there is no such thing as evil, even though you know Dick Cheney is still alive. You have to be the one to soothe and calm her frazzled little nerves even though you just had a stomach churning nightmare yourself. You have to be the one to contort your body to fit in a child sized bed and let your daughter flop her arms and legs over you even though it’s so fucking uncomfortable you don’t think you’ll ever be able to sleep that way. You have to be the rock.
I woke up at 5:30 am with a brutal pain in my neck. Violet was sleeping soundly, so I extracted myself and went back to the ‘big bed.’
We still have trick-or-treating to do on Monday. I’m trying to think of a less scary costume.