After my husband's dad came for his first "visit," I just couldn't shake the feeling of not being alone in my own home. I hadn't seen anyone, yet, but I checked out every window and door each time I passed, determined to prove to myself that nobody was really there. Soon, I relaxed and let it go. I chalked up the nervous feelings to being a new mom alone in a new house at night. It wasn't long until I'd forgotten all about that creepy feeling.
Then one night, when Daddyman was at work and I was home alone with Via, it happened.
I was trying to find the double boiler - I don't know why I thought I needed it to make dinner for myself and a 5 month old baby, but I was absolutely distracted with the search. While Via sat in her high chair in the middle of the kitchen, happily clanging spoons and cooing, I pulled everything out of the kitchen cupboards. No double boiler. I searched the shelves in the basement laundry room - no double boiler. Then, I remembered the box of kitchen stuff that was still in the attic.
I flung open the door that lead to the attic stairs. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, and I was ready to bound up the steps when I looked up and saw him. I gasped and stopped dead in my tracks. He was just sitting on the attic steps, behind the closed door, listening to the lives of a young mom and her baby.
He was sitting about 5 steps up from the bottom, with his elbows on his knees. We were almost face to face before I realized that he was there. But, of course, he wasn't really there. I could see the steps right through him.
We stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. Then, he smiled at me. A sort of sad, lonely smile. It was not an apology for being in my house or an excuse, just a smile.
When I finally caught my breath, I slammed the door closed. I pulled the dining room table in front of the door. I know that a table will not keep a ghost out of the main floor, but the idea of stopping this man from being present in my house was really important at the time.
I ran to the kitchen and scooped Via out of her high chair. I was holding her and crying and then I hear the lock on the front door click.
"Oh, God. Now what?"
It was Daddyman who walked through the door. Reasonable, calm, logical Daddyman. I fell into his giant man embrace and sobbed. When I told him the story of the man on the stairs, he didn't laugh. He didn't look at me like I'd lost my mind. He just held me.
We left the table where it was for a couple of days - in front of the door to the attic steps.
We left it in front of the attic door until one sunny Sunday in October.
I needed to find something that we hadn't yet unpacked, and I was certain that it was in the attic. Rick was raking leaves out side. The windows were open. I could hear him talking back to the game announcers on the portable radio. I knew that he could hear me, and would be inside in 10 seconds if I shouted to him for help.
I took a deep breath. I could do this. I am a grown up, after all. He probably wasn't there, anyway. I have such an over active imagination... I was so tired the night I saw him sitting on my attic steps... I'm certain I just imagined him being there...
I opened the door.
The man was there. Again. Just listening.
He looked at me. And smiled.
This time, I smiled back.
I took a deep breath and said, "Excuse me. I need to get something up there."
He leaned to one side to let me pass. (Of course, there wasn't any need for him to lean to one side. I could have simply walked right through him.)
We continued this sort of polite relationship of smiling and leaning and passing and saying "thank you" and "excuse me" until I moved out of that little Bungalow on Lincoln Avenue. As it turned out, I was sort of comforted by his presence. Knowing that someone else is home when you feel lonely late at night with a brand new baby when you're home all alone...