“Nooooooo! I want Mommy!!”
She keeps whining and thrashing about in bed. Just like most nights. Anything to get my attention. Anything to get me in her room again. Anything to stall closing those eyes and going to sleep.
“It’s Bor-ring,” she whines when I tell her to just close her eyes and relax–or, my personal favorite, “But then I can’t see!”
You’re so clever. You really are. You have an old soul. I’ve been told this numerous times about you.
You can see it when you look into her eyes.
It’s like she’s known me for years when we just met!
She’s an old soul, that one.
I know they’re right, too. I know you’re an old soul. I know you’re much wiser beyond your two years. But I also know you’ve got to get some sleep.
Because if you don’t, I don’t; and if I don’t, the world best look out.
“Noooo! I want mommy. I want MOMMY!”
When I can’t take it anymore I go toward your room. The plan, like always, is to not even really look at you, but to stand in the doorway and ask what the problem is… only this time, your screams and whines are at a new volume I didn’t think was even possible to reach.
This time, it’s like I’m finally able to grasp what you’ve been trying to tell me all along.
This time when I quietly push the door more open, I can’t help but notice how terrified you are… So I follow your gaze to the corner behind the door. And I see him. The shadow. The dark shadow wearing a hat.
The burning vomit creeps into my throat as I take the most deliberate blink in all my life and when I open my eyes again, there’s nothing there.
I turn back toward you and you’re sound asleep. So peaceful looking.
I snap my head back toward the corner and there’s nothing… this time.