Our modern house on Sinclair Drive had three bedrooms upstairs, and two bedrooms, including a maid’s room, two stories below. For reasons I won’t go into here, I was moved from one of the upstairs bedrooms when I was around three, down to the bedroom by the basement stairs. I was afraid of the dark back then, and actually used to hallucinate scary things, if I woke up in the middle of the night. This is so far back that I was still peeing in my bed on a occasion, which I’m sure was taxing for my parents, who, when I came upstairs with the soggy news, would have to get out of bed and travel the distance downstairs, making stops for fresh sheets, fresh pajamas, etc. Anyway, I remember my dad doing it: making my bed in the middle of the night—snapping the sheet like a bullfighter, and letting it float down so that it landed just right.
Do we all have a thing for clean sheets?
Anyway, then he’d get into bed with me and stay until I fell asleep. This one night I remember waking up to a massive hallucination: There were witches in the room. One or two were stirring a cauldron over a fire, one was flying on a broomstick, looking down. My dad was behind me, spooning me, and I was propped up on my hands, backing into him, terrified. That’s when the snake started climbing up the side of the bed towards me.
No joke. I was screaming. My father had my hand. He was saying something like, “It’s not real,” or “It’s not there.” I remember it vividly. I’m the only person alive who could tell this story.
It’s not like I’m confessing this, or even admitting it, though that’s how it feels. I think I’m fairly sane, actually, though I’m not exactly…I don’t know…vanilla. Plus I was a baby, for god’s sakes. But I don’t hear much about this kind of thing from other people. The hallucinations—what they call “night terrors.” It’s like there was a pinprick in the bardo I was born from, and a few creatures from a hell realm squeezed through it and lived near me, taking various forms when it got dark.
When I got older, in my twenties, it was always groups of hipsters I woke up to, as if they’d climbed in the window of my apartment and were standing across the room, having a conversation, with their bad posture, their big sweaters, and their sneakers. I’m not kidding. I’m afraid to say that it stopped in my thirties, because that will invite the next incarnation to squeeze through, and I’m alone in my house tonight, in the dark.