Scariest childhood memories
I have to credit Austin http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/friday-night-think-tank-memorial-day-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-13100 for dredging up this particular topic. It gives a whole new meaning to the question, “When did you come out of the closet?” No, I’m not attracted to other women. I came out of the closet when the dinosaurs, giant turtles and headless men left my room for the evening.
As far as childhood nightmares go, my scariest memory is waking up to find a dinosaur (like a tyrannosaurus) staring down at me, his eyes intent on his next meal (3 guesses what that was). I could feel the hot saliva dripping on me, see the yellowed teeth–helpless as the cavernous mouth opened wider. I was about 4 at the time, we didn’t have a television set, nor had I seen a picture of a dinosaur. All I remembered was screaming…nothing after that.
The wind rushing through the trees, rain on the roof, shadows against the curtains—all those were easily explained. But how do you explain the giant turtle staring at you from the corner of the room scared away by those mysterious entities I called parents? How frightening were these things to me in comparison to the “real” world? Scary enough so that when there was a swarm of carpenter ants and my parents had to lift me off the bed to deal with it, I slept through the whole thing. Don’t ask me how the insects got there or why, all I know is what I was told: My face was covered with ½ in long ants and I slept through the entire crisis.
There was nothing more frightening than having to get up to pee in the middle of the night. A memory Steven or Edgar would have relished kept me locked in the bathroom for what seemed to be hours. As I approached the door to my room, I saw a man wearing what I could only describe as a diaper sitting cross-legged on the floor. That would be scary enough, but he bent his skinny torso toward me, blood spouting from the place where his head should have been firmly attached to his neck. The wound wasn’t a smooth chop. The head had been ripped, with jagged edges of flesh hanging off.
Later in life, I discussed it with my mother. She said I would often wake up screaming in the night—first from pain, later from terror. The small room that we called “the den” was supposed to be my bedroom, a fact my mother waited until I was an adult to spring on me. While my sister was strong and healthy, the fear I would die from colic so disturbed my mother she was unable to sleep from the constant crying. The colic subsided when I was switched from formula to goat’s milk, but the night terrors were only quelled when mom moved me into my sister’s room. Even then it only worked as long as my sister was in the room with me.
Why would my sister be fine while I was frightened of the night? Could it be that God was pissed at me because I entered life butt first mooning the world? Was it the 10 hour hard labor my unfortunate mother endured, or the fact she nearly died twice while I was emerging from the womb? Could it be because I was almost a month premature and placed in oxygen for 3 days? No one knows, but my fear of being alone stayed with me into adulthood.
What about now? I walk through a dark house at night with little fear. If there were anything out there, one of my dogs would be on it.