Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Mater remarked today about the nightly notions that instilled fear into her as a child: the monsters that positively lurked under the bed; the shadows that trembled and flickered behind the curtain; the way that a nightgown slung casually on the edge of a wardrobe manifested as a grinning, waiting witch with shiny button eyes; the host of terrifying possibilities that hovered, always, at the corner of her young eye- all made infinitely worse as she tried to read her book by the pale glow of forbidden candlelight.
Now that she is a grown-up, the phantoms have evaporated, replaced by analysis of the next day's chores and plans. There is nothing quite like plotting the next round of laundry to deter invasive ghostly thoughts; it keeps one's mind busy, certainly, but also bores the ghosts senseless.
"Where did the monsters come from?" Mater threw the question at various family members.
"It all seems so ridiculous now, to think that I was so scared. Where did the monsters come from? I didn't even read scary books, or watch spooky films."
One member of the family suggested, reasonably, and by pointing to Mater's head, that the eerie figures and half-creatures had originated in her mind; and that the mystery also concluded there.
I offered my ideas to Mater on that particular subject.
"I wouldn't worry about where the monsters came from," I said.
"You wouldn't?" Mater said.
"I wouldn't," I said. "What I'm wondering-"
"I'm wondering where the monsters went."
To judge by the heavy silence that followed, Mater might need to have that list of chores memorized for tonight.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:31 PM