she cried out last night, not long after being put to bed.
her eyes are scary, mommy.
whose eyes? bambi?
i remind her that her room is safe. that bambi is friendly. that the shadows are not scary, they are hers. she owns them. i remind her that bambi has been on her closet door, above the rack of dress up clothes since we've lived in this house. she knows bambi.
as a child, i used to spend weekends at my dad's house. i would sleep completely covered under the blankets, convinced that if no part of myself showed, i was safe. i was a tad claustrophobic, however, and rigged a way to peek my nose and mouth out of a covered tunnel so that fresh air would keep me sane, a cloak of fabric safe. i would obsess over the curtains, making sure no speck of window was visible because i was convinced there were eyes outside. scary eyes.
the second time she cried, she saw eyes growing out of the dress up clothes. lots of them. so many that her nightlight was not bright enough to shrink the glare from her imagination. i plugged in the too-bright-for-a-nightlight string of christmas lights in her room and taped a piece of paper over bambi.
there is no reason to be scared, mommy. this is my room.
i cannot stand the forest. it's not the trees or the solitude or even the dark. it is the gateway to the multiplication of every bad thought i have ever stored, filed, began as it festers and comes to life. i can scare myself shitless in no time. i am the perfect case study for the type of brain that does not respond well to hallucinogens. i believe in the possibility of anything. and, for some reason, i believe more in the possibility of evil than i do of good in most situations. i work to keep this at bay. paper taped over corners of my mind at any time. if you walked through the uneven hallways of my imagination, you will find carpet and stone and marble and blood and balloons and the ocean and the darkest part of yourself. i will show it to you, my makeup smeared and music a tad too loud.
i tell my daughter that bambi is friendly. that there are no eyes growing in dress up clothes. i tell her she is safe.
we talk about her fancy gold shoes that are magic. we marvel over her first performance in her very first christmas pageant at school. how she sang so loud and so pretty and she made me cry, my eyes full like ripe grapes. we made plans to make the gingerbread house that has been sitting on the counter for a week. we will stare at the boo-tiful christmas tree, mommy that we finally decorated last night. and i remind her that mommy and daddy are here.
she is safe.
and i crawl back into bed and pull the blankets up over my face, leaving a small space to breath.