A few weeks ago I wrote a dud of story about a repairman who came to my house. I posted it here for about a minute, a story that was so much a nothing I hit delete. So this man came to my house. So he seemed scary. So nothing happened. So what. Who cares.
But after I took the story down and shoved it into the
digital black hole drawer, I could not stop thinking about it. It woke me up at night. It festered.
(with a huge thanks, as always, to Jennifer Pastiloff)
Excerpt from “The Man In My House”
I grew up with my single mom, in a house without a man. My mother was not a fearful person, nor was her mother, my grandmother, and we all lived on a diet of scary movies, movies where men like Dracula waited in the dark to abuse his women.
We watched TV shows about terrifying men, like the one where Darrin MacGavin searched for The Night Stalker, and when I was ten and eleven I would come home from school in time to watch Dark Shadows with my grandmother in her cold, dark basement. Fear, fear of imaginary bad men, was our entertainment.
And yet, when I was little, I had regular and vivid, terrorizing nightmares. I screamed like someone was killing me. I walked out of our apartment and knocked on neighbors’ doors. I babbled incoherently to my single, sleep-deprived mother in our ever-changing string of new, and unfamiliar, apartments. The most vivid and repeating nightmare, like a record player with a skip, had me staring hard out our window into the dark, my fingers crunched hard on the sill, while kneeling on my bed and seeing a strange man with white eyes staring back at me from the other side. To this day I am sure I can smell him.