It was four in the morning when my Tylenol PM-induced slumber was shattered by the sound of knocking on my dorm window.
For a second I thought I was dreaming, but no, there it was again.
My mind raced inside my paralyzed body. “Is this how the guy who wrote the Diving Bell and the Butterfly felt?” I asked myself.
I failed to rationalize the noise away: I heard it again, louder. There was definitely someone knocking on my window.
At best, I thought, it was someone mistaking my window for their friends or maybe one of my pals playing a prank. Worst case it was an escaped prisoner tormenting me before breaking the window and killing me.
I slid farther under the covers and adopted the fetal position; maybe the murderer wouldn’t see me.
Another dozen knocks passed before I became bored of the charade. I craned my neck toward the window, trying to see through the slats in the blinds, but nothing was there. No shadow. No escaped prisoner.
I turned on my light. Still nothing. I leaned toward the window, banished my timidity by gripping the cord and yanking the blinds open.
I let out a sigh and a quivering laugh when I saw the branches of the tree outside smacking against my window.
Relief flushed over me, but it was consumed by embarrassment and a touch of shame.
I guess I wouldn’t have been so forlorn, if this was a singular experience. It wasn’t. By nature I am a bit paranoid.
Every noise, every shadow becomes something terrible.
The little boy across the street trying to escape the grip of his mother turns into the victim of kidnapping. I immediately pull the pepper spray from my purse and start to head over, analyzing the situation deciding on the best extraction tactic. Only the boy’s “Mommy, Mommy!” brings me back to reality, sanity.
The shadows of trees on the path to PVG at night hide the creepers lurking about, waiting to bounce. I quicken my step and keep looking back. Peace doesn’t come until I am safely inside my room.
Perhaps this is all a part of my neurosis; I know I am a bit crazy. Maybe it’s because I watch too much TV.
I used to be addicted to crime dramas, the ones where the actual pictures of the crime scene were shown. The violence, the darkness, the reality of it all must have gotten to me.
I was in fifth grade when I started watching those shows. For about a month I had to keep all the lights in my room on at night so I wouldn’t be afraid to sleep. When I’m alone in my house, I confess I barricade my bedroom door closed, just in case. Good times.
I am suspicious of everyone, every situation. I wish I hadn’t seen that stuff, but I did. I guess the cost of knowing human nature is a loss of innocence, which in my case includes phobias.
Most people who watch TV shows with violence probably aren’t afraid of their own shadows, but I certainly am. I wonder why it affects some people more than others.
I’m sure Dr. Phil could shed some light on this situation; maybe he could have a special show dedicated to people like me. Wouldn’t that be grand!