By Roger Bergold
Whoa, what the fuck was that? Did something hit the house, or was someone breaking in?
1 AM, shit, I always meant to get a gun.
I slowly got out of bed. I didn’t turn on the light thinking the dark might hide or protect me from whatever was now scaring the shit out of me. I got down close to the ground and moved toward the source of the impact. I listened. I could hear the refrigerator, my pounding heart and nothing else.
My house is surrounded by hundreds of acres of land, most of which don’t belong to me. And all is very, very dark at night. I have always harbored a silent concern that this isolation could someday present a problem and here it was. For a quarter of a century, when awakened by a sound in the night, I would turn to my wife and ask the predictable, “Did you hear that”? I now turned to her side of the bed, instinctively. But, held my question. My wife and partner of almost a quarter of a century is no longer living, a victim of breast cancer. She died in my arms in this house and I have been lying alone in bed since then, more awake than asleep.
Now I rose and stood preparing to meet the unknown noisemaker. My brain, under duress, has always conjured up vivid images, real or imagined often ridiculous, and even inappropriate. Using humor to diffuse fear has been one of my life long defenses. Now my defenses REALLY let loose. I imagined escaped convicts, motorcycle gangs, overzealous Jehovas witnesses, pissed off mother bears, bands of coyotes, Hari Krishnas looking for an airport, and even process servers.
Everything came to a silent halt.