My name is Unwashed. I am thirty years old and I am terrified of being home alone.
This has been a problem and my existence for as long as I can remember. The lovely creative part of my brain that feeds my fingers nonsense to type onto my computer screen is also the part that tells me there is a killer hiding under my bed, or that thieves will use the backyard trampoline to catapult themselves through my second story window. It concocts three headed sneering monsters out of shadows and gives them low hushed voices that sound vaguely like the hum of the refrigerator.
When I was younger, until the middle of high school, I struggled with being home alone during the day. Then my parents had the basement redone so the witch that lived there had to pack her bags and head for darker corners without track lighting.
In university, my father would arrange for me to stay with my grandmother who lived in the next city whenever he and my mother were away. After university however, I was on my own. This arrangement worked with varying degrees of success, the nights my parents were away, I would shun my environmental beliefs and turn on every single light bulb in the house and leave them burning until the morning. I would jump at every noise, and once a group of raccoons invaded the porch because I let the cat out but was too scared to leave the door open while calling Splat’s name and instead threw half a bag of kitty chow all over the deck. The cat didn’t return until the next day however the neighbourhood pests had a field day or rather a field night enthusiastically feasting on the cat food and ripping chunks of deck’s planks out in their excitement. When my Dad returned home I told him the chunks had always been missing.
As a full-fledged adult, when my former partner Roscoe was away, I would lock myself in the bedroom at eight o’clock and push a chest of drawers up against the door, then cross my legs and pray for morning, or a chamber pot depending on how badly I needed to pee.
After hearing about the difficulties associated with moving a chest of drawers, when Roscoe started working overnight shifts, Sula* invited me to her house for sleepovers. At one point I spent upwards of four nights a month at her home.
When I bought house by myself, evening was a difficult time, and Gordy** frequently offered to drop by whenever I would text him “Prowler! Imminent death!” after hearing a squirrel tip over my garbage can. I solved this issue by acquiring a roommate who was small but mighty. When nocturnal sounds became overwhelming I would repeat Meredith’s^ athletic stats in my head to calm myself; she squats 150lbs, she once carried a mirror four times her size and three quarters her weight up three flights of stairs, she can outrun a moped. I may have exaggerated the last bit, but my roommate was super fit, and in the event of life or death I could see her leaving a Vespa in the dust.
Now I live in the north with Tex, who enjoys a manly night out every so often. Normally this isn’t a problem, however tonight I’m reading a Jodi Piccoult book which centers around kidnapping and missing persons. Suddenly the monsters in the closet and the killers under the bed have detailed and exceptionally gruesome plans. Reading all alone in the silent second bedroom where I’ve been sleeping of late, to avoid my upstairs neighbour’s nocturnal phone calls, I found myself all but quaking with fear. Not wanting to text Tex to come home because he’s such a nice guy I knew he would, I went to my tried and true standard. I phoned a friend. Well not really. I mostly sat under one who was on the phone. Like clockwork my upstairs neighbor is talking at top volume just so I know he is there. Let this post be my official letter of apology;
Dear Sir Who Lives Above Me,
I’m sorry that I pictured waving Tex’s guns around to scare you. I would still slap you with my fish tail if I was a mermaid though; you really need to stop the middle of the night chatter.
More fondness than my last correspondence,
The Great Unwashed
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who made sure I had a warm bed to sleep in and coffee every morning because I am a wuss.
** Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who willingly battle ghosts and shadow men whose presence only I can detect.
^Names have been changed because although this person acted as my protector as stated before, she’s super strong so I try not to tick her off by doing inconsiderate things like putting her name on the interwebs.
To read about the time that ghosts broke into my house and Gordy saved the day- CLICK Here
In case you missed it I threatened my upstairs neighbour with guns, fairies and robots. I can’t promise that I won’t still when he wakes me up at 3 am, however I will feel a little bad while doing it since he sort of kept me company last night.