For a child, I imagine the worst thing about a monster in the house is the deep silence under stuffy confines of a big blanket, powerless, waiting for something sharp or something slimy to grab a toe until sleep overcomes fear. For an adult though, for me in particular, the worst thing is that I can’t tell anyone without coming off as a complete nut bag, a future roommate of Miss Maclaine herself.
It has occurred to me that at some point I did unwittingly purchase a ticket on the Looney Tunes express. No one would blame me, I’m sure. Dennis has been gone now for almost a year, the anniversary of his disappearance less than a week away. Considering his mystery, my new little visitor fits right in to a mentally fabricated reality.
Besides, whom would I tell?
I could call one of the kids, but what would they do about it?
Craig would listen or at least let me speak. But then I could almost hear the platitudes, could almost write his script as he threw out his momisms about getting out of the house, taking more walks, finding myself a friend or joining the church’s bingo crowd.
I might ring up Jeannie. She would listen, and might even drive up for a visit, come stay the night and bring the kids and fill the house. For those few precious hours the sounds of love and life would push that little bastard back into the shadows until they were good and gone.
I got a picture! He either didn't know that my cell took photos or he didn't realize he was visible. I'm thinking the latter because these types of monsters are no doubt masters of technology. I immediately sent it to the kids, right from my phone, which Craig probably thought was amazing.
Unfortunately Craig couldn't see it. Even after I directed his attention to the sofa, his only reply was that it looked nice and that I might think about upgrading my light fixtures. Jeannie threw me a small bone and said it looked like an eye and wasn't that weird and that I should send the picture in to a contest or something.
Maybe if I could get a recording of its voice someone would pay attention. Probably not. I think trick photography, computer graphics and digital sound has probably sucked the belief right out of just about everyone.
I miss Dennis more and more every day. It has occurred to me that my little monster friend represents a way to return to my husband. I don't think Dennis is dead, or that he has just finally gotten so sick of my nits and picks and decided to start a new life under an assumed name. This last bit was a suggestion from a neighbor who has always hated our happiness. I think his interest in what he called "unknowns" finally got someone's attention. Someone? Something? That may be six in one hand and half dozen in the other.
I've caught the little guy over my bed ad night. I'll just open my eyes and there he is, standing naked right on the bed near my feet, weightless, looking down at me and making that little cooing noise like an angry pigeon. I watch him for a bit, holding my breath, clinching my fists under the spread, my old heart beating much too fast. And then he seems to realize my awareness and slips away.
If I want to see Dennis again, I think I have to speak to my monster, call out my need. Maybe it's romantic, but I am starting to believe that free will is in play here, that I must request an E-ticket before this grey-skinned, oddball will act. This thought nearly makes me laugh because it's possible my weird visitor is nothing more than a cosmic cabbie waiting for me to tell him where I want to go.
Tomorrow is the anniversary. Dennis will have been gone a year. Jeannie has offered to come up with the kids, take me on a picnic, then to a movie. She said Joe will even come and they can all stay the whole weekend.
I told her no.
See, I'm no astronomer. But even an old woman understands that our planet is in basically the same spot every year relative to the sun. So if there is a chance that a cab or bus or ship or whatever is scheduled to head off towards galaxies unknown to all but the little grey, black-eyed men and possibly Dennis, I think it would leave tonight, the same night Dennis disappeared from our bed in a flash of light and noise.
We shall see.
handwritten notes discovered with doctored photo