Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sounds of the Night

My son's breaths are sound, his eyes are closed.  All that remains is my withdrawal from the now tranquil confines of my son's room.  But this is no small feat, as my retreat requires the agility a of a trapeze artist and the stealthiness of a ninja, knowing that one errant step can set of a chain of events that will tilt the house from its peaceful balance and catapult the hush of the night into a rupturing calamity of chaos. I take my first timid step towards his door, careful not to release my guard and risk tossing waking the 20 lb sleeping ball of cute tucked away in the crib.  

Pitfalls await, positioned in the shadows and poised to strike. I must keep my composure and discipline. I've learned from experience that failing to abide could prove disastrous

But tonight I am bushed. My steps are heavy and tired, and before I have time to react I'm ambushed as my foot kicks an object across the floor and I’m bombarded by haunting wails of laughing children.  It is mocking and menacing, the laughter, and I freeze mid stride, holding my position as the wooden planks moan in the dark.  A wedge of moonlight provides my only source of guidance.  I hear the peaceful stirring of crickets in the woods and I long to simply climb in bed and lay a head to a pillow, just as I did not too long ago.

I take a shaky breath and proceed, and my second step lends hope, a soft, muted stride towards my escape.  My confidence bounds as I tread forward, within reach of the door, where freedom and rest await me, where dreams roam and meander without fear of being snatched and lost forever in the screams and wails.  I'm almost there...

A crash rattles the room. I jerk my head in horror, as shrieking monkeys spring to life, spraying light and cackling as I fumble about trying to disarm him. How many of these freakin' toys sing? I turn back, fully expecting to pay for my carelessness.  Somehow all is clear. I turn to the door and continue, knowing there won’t be another chance.

I implore a new tactic, one that involves speed and haste.  I bolt, slipping through the doorway and hightailing it for the bed, stubbing my tow as I dive and take cover.  I land awkwardly as the dog bites my leg.  My wife stirs.  She doesn't ask why I dove into bed,  but rather why I'm holding a severed monkey's head. I mumble something about the things I can't unsee.  After my debriefing I lie in bed, my nerves only beginning to settle. I wipe the cold sweat from my forehead, catching my breath.  Mission accomplished.  I turn over, close my eyes, and hear a wail from across the hall... 

1 comment:

  1. Awww, nicely written with poetic imagery. I remember those nights of creeping out of bedrooms. It doesn't go away until past the Tooth Fairy stage, when you have to sneak that money under the pillow and then make it back to the door.

    I recall one time when I thought my daughter was asleep and she asked me what I was doing, (hand under pillow). I told her I was fluffing up the pillows and "go back to sleep now." For some unknown, and grace filled reason, it worked.