I must have fallen asleep on the couch. A cool breeze across my legs woke me up. I sat up and wandered towards the back of the house. A utility bathroom was my destination. It is part of a regular route and ritual. Each night I head there to plug my cell phone into the charger and take care of last minute business.
Tonight was no different than any other night. I trudged through the house using my own sense of Radar. Eyes half closed I navigated around furniture and toys. As I got closer to the bathroom I noticed it was progressively getting colder. The change was striking. Initially I thought that it was due to the change in my having just woken up and then I realized that I didn’t just feel a breeze, I could hear it whistling through the house.
The back door was open.
The back door was open and I couldn’t remember having gone through that door. The back door was open and not only couldn’t I remember having used the door, I couldn’t remember anyone having used it.
The back door was open. It was dark and my family lay asleep in the house unaware that our security was compromised. In a heartbeat I went from being a moment away from returning to slumber to being fully awake. I paused for a moment and held my position. In the dark I listened for sounds that didn’t belong.
Soft and purposeful steps took me through the house to check on the children. I didn’t really think that anyone had come inside. I didn’t really think that the evil that lurks in the dark had penetrated the defenses and taken the opportunity to enter, but then again strange things happen.
The dark has been a source of discomfort for me since early childhood. At times the dark has terrified me. It comes from having a graphic imagination. As an exercise in control I have forced myself to walk through the woods without a flashlight just to prove that the hidden monsters I was sure lay out there really weren’t.
Adrenaline pumping I patrolled the interior of the home and looked for someone or something that didn’t belong. I didn’t know how the door had ended up wide open but the fear of what could be turned into anger. If I found that thing, if in the dark of the house I stumbled upon it I was prepared to eat it alive. Inside my home I am the king of the jungle.
It is not cliche or bravado. It is a primal urge, nature driving me to protect my own.
A short time after the discovery of the open door I confirmed that there was nothing to be alarmed about but the uneasy feeling stayed with me. I am wide awake. Here I sit at the computer decompressing.
In the morning I’ll be tired and walking around with a sheepish grin about the door. In the light of the day I am sure that I’ll think I got uptight about nothing, but right now the dark whispers to me and I am not so sure.