I woke up to noises and it was still dark outside. It sounded like the cousins were sneaking around the house. I groaned. Cousin sleepovers! I rolled over and hoped that one of the other adults could be the bad guy and tell them to go back to sleep. It was then that I realized the rustling was coming from my room. Perhaps Ethan had had a change of heart and was coming to sleep with me after all.
I didn’t sit up but called out, “Ethan…Ethan.” No response but still there was some rustling. I groaned again. Why couldn’t that kid just get into bed so we could both go back to sleep. I rolled over and switched on the light. There was a swish and it looked to my sleep deprived eyes like a young woman in a long skirt had just walked through the wall. I quickly made the sign of the cross, out of habit, and I managed not to scream although I wanted to. I made the sign of the cross again, this time because I wanted divine guidance. I took a deep breath. My imagination must be overreacting and I didn’t really see anything. I took another deep breath and I looked around the room. There was nothing. I was being silly. I wanted to laugh about it but I wasn’t able to yet. One more glance around the room to reassure myself that there was no one in the room with me and then I knew I had to turn out the light and go back to sleep. I was just about to turn out the light when I realized I was looking right into the eyes of a porcelain doll, many porcelain dolls, all sitting neatly on their shelves where they had been before I turned them all around.
That was enough for me. I was out of there and running down the stairs before I could even start to think rationally. I got downstairs and turned on all the lights and sat on the sofa, trying to figure out what possibly could have happened. I had no explanation and I wasn’t willing to think about the girl I might possibly, could have, maybe seen in my room. I couldn’t seem to stop my hands from shaking but I knew one thing for sure, I was not sleeping in that room and I didn’t want to be alone. I couldn’t sleep with any of my siblings and their spouses or my parents or the teenage boys as the explanations would be too difficult so I crept back up the stairs and headed into the playroom. I found a spot by Ethan and snuggled in with him.
Ethan rolled over and mumbled, “I thought you might join us Mom. Did you see her?”
“Ethan, what are you talking about?” I asked.
“My sister, Mom. Did you see her?” Ethan asked sleepily. “I thought she might show up because I’m here. I’m glad you’re in here with me now Mom.”
“Me too. But what do you mean by your sister and her showing up? She’s in here with you, sleeping over there by your cousin Mary,” I said.
“Not her, my other sister,” Ethan said with a big yawn at the end.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m tired Mom, can I go to sleep?”
“Yes, Ethan, we’ll talk more in the morning,” I replied and hooked Ethan under my arm. It helped me feel better to have someone close, someone who relied on me to be level-headed. I knew this would all seem better in the morning, in the light.
Things were not better in the morning. I woke up and my back hurt, my head hurt, my side hurt, everything hurt. I was going to have to do something about the sleeping arrangements. I didn’t want to spend my entire vacation sleeping on the floor of the playroom. I tried to get up off the floor and could hardly move. I had to roll onto my side and then onto my knees so I could push myself off the floor. I groaned, it was official, I was too old to sleep on the floor anymore. I was the last one out of bed (or the floor in my case) in the morning and I got a lot of teasing from my brother Rich when I finally got downstairs.
“Just pass me my hot chocolate,” I said. It was my drink of choice in the mornings. Everyone knew to bring my hot chocolate. They could have their coffee, lattes and other specialty drinks but I, I needed my hot chocolate.
My sister Karen brought me over a mug. “Hard night? Did Ethan need you to sleep with him? Mary told me you were in the playroom this morning. How’s your back?”
“My back is killing me. I think I may need to change rooms with the boys,” I said.
“Why?” asked Rich. “Isn’t that bed big enough for you and Ethan? I didn’t think the bedroom with bunkbeds would be up your alley.”
What was I supposed to say? I couldn’t tell them what had happened and if it really had happened, was I really willing to let the boys deal with it alone.
“I’m not moving from my room,” yelled Jeff from the other end of the bar. “Besides, those dolls are creepy. I don’t want to stay in there with them.”
“No, no, don’t worry. I’m not going to make you boys move. I was just joking,” I said. My sister Karen just gave me an odd look. I knew she was going to quiz me about it later. I knew I couldn’t make the boys sleep in that room. I’d just have to talk to Ethan today and figure out what this was all about.
Check back tomorrow to see what happens!