A heart never beats as loudly as when you’re crouched behind the backside of an open door, peeking out through the open hinge, and staring at your arch nemesis. Why was she here? How did she know where to find me? My grandparent’s house was supposed to be safe. Supposed to be off limits. Yet here I was, hiding from her hideous face, the blue Snoopy-print cafe curtains slightly stirring from the ceiling fan in the toy room.
I willed my lungs to stop working, if just for a moment. Each inhale and exhale seemed to echo through the room. Soon, she would find me. I feared I would wet myself. I was a child. And terrified. Absolutely panic-stricken. What would she do to me? She’d never caught me before, had always tried but I’d always gotten away. This time there was no escape. My fight or flight response kicked in, but “flight” wasn’t an option. I would fight.
With my left arm, I slowly pushed the door open, revealing my scrawny, little-girl self. I stood up. I clenched my fists, gritted my teeth, and demanded, “What do you want from me? I hate you!” I can remember nearly everything about her except her eyes. Her skin was yellow, and felt-like in its texture. Each hand only had two fingers. Two cylindrical fingers which were flat on the end. I refused to even say the number two throughout most of my childhood. One…three…four…
And then, there was her hair, or lack of hair rather. She was bald. She was Miss Baldyhead. *shudder*
But this time, she wasn’t alone. She was with her husband, and child. She had a family? How could this be? This monster who haunted every night of my childhood dreams was domesticated? Did they know this is what she did for a living? Wreaked havoc on my overly-stimulated creative mind and caused panic even during my waking hours? Something was different.
There was a shift in my young brain. I was no longer scared. She’d come in peace. She wanted to make amends. Our war, it seemed, was over. No more would she creep up in the darkness. But a simple truce wouldn’t do. She wanted something more. “My family and I would like to teach you how to juggle.” I simply said, “Ok.”
After this final nightmare, Miss Baldyhead stopped filling my childhood with terror. And now that I know first-hand the havoc a creative mind can conjure during the darkest hours, I never deny my young daughter comfort during her moments of fear. I know how she feels. I know. When things keep going bump in the night, mommy will always be there. Always.