*names, destinations, and occupations have been changed in this post…for obvious reasons.
I don’t like to refer to myself as a paranoid person (I totally am), I prefer to say that I possess a vivid imagination. When I was 15, I was often at home alone, which was great – my dad trusted me. It was not unusual, though, for me to ask my friends to walk through every inch of my house when they dropped me off at night to make sure no creep was lurking in a corner waiting to kill me. When I was too embarrassed to ask them to do it, I walked every inch myself, steel bar in hand. It was the only way I could close my eyes and fall asleep alone in my house, with the knowledge I was, in fact, alone. One morning, convinced someone had broken into my dad’s bedroom and was rifling through his dresser drawers, I jumped out my bedroom window, with my dog tucked under my arm, and fled three doors down to my friend Ronda’s house and called the fuzz. After a thorough walk-through of the house, they concluded that there was no evidence anyone had been there, and my dad’s underwear and socks were intact – still meticulously folded in his drawers, just as he had left them. Oopsie daisy. I told you, a very vivid imagination.
Even now, I won’t sleep with my legs on top of my sheets because every time I attempt to, I imagine a hand is going to reach up from under my bed and grab them. I am not shitting you. Every. Time. I try, I really do. But, merely seconds after trying, I thrust them back under the covers like a total spazz, relieved that they are no longer exposed and grabbable to the monster living under my bed. Fact. Oddly enough, my arms are immune to being grabbed. Some monsters are tough to figure out.
So, this pet sitting thing is way out of my comfort zone. I don’t like houses that are haunted, have basements, walls made of windows, many doors to enter the house, or are in the country. Currently, I am pet sitting at a house where the walls are all windows, there are six different ways to enter (break-in) the house (THERE ARE SIX DOORS!!), it is in the country, and it may or may not be haunted. The windows in my bedroom are also so small I will not be able to squeeze my ass out of them in an emergent situation. There is one way in my room and one way out. There is no escape. THERE IS NO ESCAPE! Thankfully, there is no basement, but other than that, this house is made of everything that scares the absolute shit out of me. I am a sitting duck. But, I have a job to do, a dream to make come true and these pets need me. So, I put on my big girl pants and settled in.
After successfully completing my first night in the house, which was pretty much sleeping with one eye open staring into the darkness of my deathtrap of a room, there was a knock at the door. A FUCKING KNOCK AT THE DOOR! My heart immediately started racing and the process of shitting myself began. With no clue who the hell was on the other side of that door, no idea of the intentions the knocker had, my brain went into full-on panic and self-preservation mode. Should I open the door? Where is the closest hammer? Should I run out one of the other five doors? Can I outrun whoever it is? I can’t not answer; they know someone is here. FUCK! Who is at the door?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
So, I did what I was taught never to do. I opened the door to a complete stranger and said hello.
Stranger: “Hi. Who are you?”
Me to myself: “I am me. Who the hell are you?”
Me: “I’m Tanya.”
Stranger: “I’m Larry. Are Bella and Edward home?”
Me: “No, I am house sitting for them.”
Stranger: “Oh. Where did they go?”
Me to myself: “What in the fuck? I can’t tell him this. I don’t know who this guy is. What if he is their stalker? If he really was their friend, wouldn’t he know where they are? And, now he knows I am here alone. Tanya, YOU IDIOT! Should I tell him my boyfriend is in the bathroom? Should I call out to my fake boyfriend?…”BABE, there is a serial killer at the door” Should I scream? Should I tell him I like girls? THINK, TANYA!
Me: “They went to the moon.”
Stranger: “Oh, I am going to the moon too. Where on the moon did they go?”
Me to myself: OMG!! This guy IS their stalker.
Me: I don’t actually know.
Stranger: “How do they know you?”
Me to myself: “THEY GREW ME IN A PETRI DISH, LARRY! ANY MORE QUESTIONS, LARRY?!”
Me: “We just met. I had an ad for pet sitting.”
Stranger: “Oh weird. Are you a Mime, also?”
Me to myself: “Is it weird, Larry? IS IT?
Me: “No, I work in IT. I am a computer geek.”
Stranger: “You look like a geek.
At this precise moment, I debated inviting Larry in for tea. I mean, who tells someone they just met that they look like a geek? Instantly, I had mad respect for his honesty and for just calling it exactly as he saw it. I can confirm that with my four eyes, uncombed hair, swollen eye bags, wrinkled pj’s and teeth that may or may not have been brushed, calling me a geek was actually a compliment. There were so many other words he could have used to describe me more accurately (what a gentleman). BUT WAIT. Not so fast. He was not going to woo me that easily. I was still operating under the assumption he was there to destroy me.
A short discussion about him sending an email, and how long I was going to be alone in the house (I am hopeless) took place, then Larry and I wrapped things up. Honestly, our conversation peaked at geek, so it was pretty much downhill from there. After saying goodbye, closing the door and swiftly locking it, my sweep of the house began. I checked every door to ensure it was locked (FIVE MORE OF THEM!), I looked under every bed, checked every closet and after doing so sat and watched Netflix waiting for my blood pressure to level off. I was rattled. I spent the rest of the day questioning how information about people’s whereabouts and my occupation just spewed out of my mouth like some kind of taco bell ass explosion. What was I going to divulge next, my mother’s maiden name and my bank details? Seriously, what in the hell is wrong with me? I watch Dateline. I know better.
Since Larry stopped by, a bedside light in the other bedroom came on – one that requires you to actually walk up to and turn on – it wasn’t me. I haven’t been within five feet of that light. Someone also has been walking on the roof and through the living room at night. That’s what it sounds like, OK.
So, either this house is haunted, or Larry is seriously fucking with me. Normally, I would have packed my bags by now and hightailed it to a safe space in a friend’s closet. But, I have no choice but to stay the course and overcome my fear. It is fear that stopped me from getting to this place in my life, to this house, and I am not going to let it get in my way now.
It is daylight. The view from these windows is spectacular – I feel no fear.
Tonight, when darkness closes in, I will try and remember that there is no monster under my bed and that in the morning, once again there will be light.
And that Larry, might just be, Larry.