Over two blog posts I’ve described how, while others’ imaginations bring light and vivid color to their lives and the world, mine is good for nothing but scaring the buhjeezus out of myself. We’ve already talked about scary movies and things that freeze my blood and make me immobile to the terrorizing (Imaginary) forces around me. But today, we’re going to get to the source of my deepest, most awful fears: The dark…
The dark and I have been enemies for a very, very long time. I was a courageous young man for as long as I can remember… Until the sun went down and the lights went out. Then I became an insufferable coward. Because it was in the dark where my terrifying imagination would take over. In those moments, every scary thing that I’d ever seen in scary movies and Scooby Doo episodes would come to stunning, terrible life, just beyond my line of sight.
My battle with the dark was so real to me for the majority of my young life. Of course it manifested itself at bedtime; My parents kept the hall light on, which was enough to keep me safe,but as soon as they knew I was asleep, off it went, and the dark crept in… Night lights were no use to me. All they did was cast creepy shadows all over the walls and ceiling. And I knew that the shadows were dark… And dark was bad. There was no stopping it.
The biggest culprit in this war between me and dark was not my room or bedtime. It was the basement. See, the basement was always filled with dark. Which wouldn’t have been a problem for me. I would’ve just said “You win, dark! I’ll just stay out of the basement and away from you.”
The problem was that the basement also was home to video games… and I had to get to the video games…
It wasn’t a problem if someone else was in the basement. They would go down and chase away the dark for me. Then I could go down and enjoy TV, video games, running around like a mindless ADD child (It happened more often than you would think), and live in bliss. But if no one was down there… then the challenge, if I was brave enough to accept it, would be to get to the basement as fast as I could and turn on all the lights before the dark got to me (because like I said, monsters and such were all real inside the dark). If I could get the lights on in safety, then all would be fine… but I tell you, it was sooooo risky.
Even more frightening than being the first one in the basement was being the last one to leave the basement. Then it was definitely night. With the lights and TV on I knew I was safe (short of a power outage. Fortunately those would only last for a few terrorizing seconds). But when it was time for bed… then a most important plan would have to be hatched.
See Light isn’t enough to keep away the terrors of some dark; You need light AND sound. As soon as I turned the TV off to go back upstairs, I could already feel the darkness creeping in. So, any night I found myself alone in the basement found me doing a number where I would brace for the worst possibilities…
… Then, in a flurry, I would turn off the TV, and as FAST AS I COULD, sprint to the light switches, flick them off, sprint up the stairs, turn the stair light off, and shut the door!
“HA! Take that dark! One more night you couldn’t claim my young life for your evils”
I could almost hear the dark offer a retort: “This time you got away. But come back tomorrow, and you won’t be so lucky!!!!”
The dark and I went at this for years. I’ve mostly won the battle over the dark, but occasionally it comes back with a vengeance – Like any time I’m stupid enough to watch “The Conjuring” all by myself.
… because that’s the other thing that protects you from dark, is company. Because, as almost every scary movie has taught us, the monsters rarely ever get you if you travel in pairs. They wait until you’re alone… all… alone… then they strike…
Who knows. Maybe someday the dark will come back with a vengeance. But for now, I’ve survived its evils, and I will be ready if it ever rears its ugly head.