Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 9:30am

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, scared. I thought I heard someone open the sliding door and stand in the room with me. Now that I think about it, it was kind of in that place where I hear things sometimes. Not quite my consciousness, not quite my unconsciousness. Maybe somebody did come in, but definitely not the real kind of somebody I thought it was. It wouldn’t be the first time I had a nocturnal visitor as such. I’ve always seen strange things in the night. As usual, I laid there, paralyzed with fear. Where does this fear come from? Fear of being alone. Fear of the dark.

I have a memory of being a baby in my crib at night, crying, crying, crying…sobbing away, scared, wanting someone to come in and love me. Finally Dad came in and picked me up. He held me so close and I remember him carrying me out to the living room with him – back when we still had that orange shag carpet – and he sat rocking me, lightly tapping my back to soothe me back to a state of calm, ideally sleep.

I’ll never forget the sound his hand made as it slapped my back. So rhythmic, so incredibly comforting. I think I kept up the whining noise even after I was over it, just so we could carry on the music we were making. I remember he was watching a movie about a car chase of some sort. I always wanted to be up late with Dad. What was he up to in those wee hours in the twilight of the television anyway, besides smoking cigarettes and eating peanuts… I wonder if I cried on purpose, just to be rewarded with those precious, stolen moments. 

I suppose I did a lot of crying on purpose. There was always the part in my brain that was aware and disappointed in my choice of behaviour. “Really, Cynthia? You’re resorting to this again?” Soon I was too old to be rocked in the chair and I think that’s when Dad started running out of ideas on how to soothe me. “My god you’re difficult to deal with,” was one of the last things he said to me the last time I saw him as I scoured the streets of Byron, laden with my bags, trying to find alternate accommodation, away from my original plans with him. We’ve really lost that rhythm we once had back in the days of my crib-crying.

But maybe it wasn’t all so calculated – a simple ploy for hugs. I used to have lots of night terrors as a child. Well, I don’t know if I would go so far as to call them ‘terrors’, but ‘disturbances’ should just about sum it up. I recall getting so wound up from it this one time in particular that I was shaking uncontrollably; Dad really had no idea what to make of it. I kind of have to laugh at the thought of him looking up my symptoms in the family medicine book from the shelf. I never had the heart to say, “you probably won’t find ‘terrified’ in the book, Dad…that’s all it is…don’t worry…” I could never fess up to something that seemed so irrational and ridiculous. Maybe I let him carry on looking because I hoped he would find something more legit and easier to treat? 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that “I see dead people”, suffice it to say I just see things. Imagination? Perhaps, though the older I get, the harder it is to categorize it as that. Otherworldly? Some evidence would suggest such. I’m getting better at filtering, and I’m careful who I lay the welcome mat to. Aside from the recent sliding door incident, I have fewer and fewer frightening episodes. Less and less rocking back to sleep, which I guess is a good thing.

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