I am an easily spooked sleeper. For some reason, when night falls, my worry-wart filter becomes a lot more porous. Morbid thoughts and worst-case scenarios that seem ridiculous during the day, seem more than a likely possibility under the cloak of darkness.
Last night, I laid wide-awake, listening to our large bedroom windows shaking and rattling in submission to what felt like a violent windstorm. My husband, being blessed with the ability to sleep through a train wreck, slept soundly next to me.
Although it may not seem like the most logical worry, I could not help but wonder how much longer our windows would hold up. The wind seemed angrily determined to penetrate and obliterate the only barrier between the warmth of our indoor shelter and the harsh elements outside. Images of shattered glass and wood spraying over our slumbering bodies danced like little malicious trolls in my head. How could we ever clean up the littler shards of glass? What would we use to close the gaping holes where our windows used to be?
Then, around midnight, I heard it: the loud sounds of somebody walking to and fro in the unit above us. This would be nothing more than an ordinary nuisance...if it wasn't for the fact that the unit above is vacant. I can assure you that I did not imagine any of this. The sound of footsteps was clearly audible and continued on for a good thirty minutes. Whoever was upstairs was walking very methodically back and forth (i could hear the creaking of a few floorboards).
If I was 7 years old, I would have attributed these footsteps to a schizophrenic zombie sleepwalker. However, as a rational thirty-two year old women, I knew that there were only three explanations: 1) the builders of our unit were doing work in the above unit (at midnight??); 2) an intruder had entered our 3-flat building and was squatting in the empty unit; or 3) an intruder had entered our building with malicious intent.
With my worry-wart gear in full throttle now, the third option seemed the most likely. My eyes opened wide at this realization and I cowered underneath our comforter. What could the intruder be doing up there? Whoever it is, why would he need to continually walk back and forth throughout the unit? And then, the horror of the intruder's plans dawned on me: arson!
Of course, why else would he need to walk around so methodically? He was pouring gasoline throughout the whole unit! But what would be the motive? Wait, who cares about motive, we were about to be burnt to a crisp!
I immediately thought about our smoke alarm and how I had never gotten around to doing the recommended "yearly test." Why hadn't I prioritized that on my to-do list? What about the fire safe that I had so responsibly bought a few months ago? Would I have time to put all our important documents into the safe before the arson-goblin trapped us in our soon to be blazing home?
My mind raced through various escape plans...could we escape through our bedroom back patio? Would he be waiting there for us? Would he have built some elaborate contraption that triggered a bucket of gasoline to fall on us as soon as we opened our sliding glass doors and jumped out onto the patio? Or, would he...
And then...I fell asleep.
Like so many prior mornings after a night of hyper-imaginative story-boarding, I awoke amazed to find the bed intact, our room not ablaze, and both myself and my husband in one piece.
After adjusting to the rationality of daylight, I told my husband about the footsteps and my theory. He seemed a bit annoyed by yet another one of my wildly speculative and drawn-out hypos that he (understandably so) interprets as a real worry.
And is it? I don't know...under the cloak of darkness, most definitely. And in general, I would venture to guess that my worries tend to be a bit more "outside the box" and morbid than those of the average person.
But, i also believe that all this juiced-up drama I frequently conjure up in my head is just a form of creative exercise for my brain, and shouldn't be interpreted literally. Some of my more imagination-oriented brain lobes, dusty and underutilized by years in the legal profession, are simply eager to make up for lost time. Yes, I worry. Yes, my head conjures up some crazy scenarios sometimes. But that doesn't mean that those worries are at the forefront of my consciousness.
I know my husband loves me, worry warts and all, but I can tell it bothers him that I worry about things I can't control. I love him for his concern, but I don't think he gets that I like this crazy, technicolor part of me. It makes me who I am, and I could never be any other way.
My nights may be a bit crazy, but at least they are rarely ever boring.
Oh, and wait until you hear about my dreams.
8 years ago