I am afraid.
I am terrified. Not of the dark, or of the sounds outside. I am afraid of what is lurking in the dark, of what could have made the sounds.
I am afraid of my own imagination.
Sometimes, my imagination is so strong I can almost see the person lurking in my house, grinning at me through the windows, looking up at me from the kitchen. I obsessively watch the doorknob, waiting for it to turn and let in the intruder I am convinced exists.
I come in the door of my house at the end of a long day and the voice of my intruder rings in my ears. The intruder always says the same thing, and it is always inside of my head.
In real life, there has never been a person in my house. There has never been a person looking through my window. I have never been in danger of life and limb.
Facts do not stop imagination when the sun goes down.
This is the dark side of imagination. The bit of creative life I try and hide in a closet. I create worlds inside of my own head. I create characters real as day to me and to others. So real that sometimes they jump out of corners, or disguise themselves as mail boxes as soon as I turn around.
Nothing helps. As soon as I shut the door on my visitors, the fear comes roaring back in. I stumble home exhausted to my imaginary intruder. It doesn’t matter how tired, how happy, how distracted I am. The fear of the intruder always finds me.
However, apparently intruders are afraid of music. Especially music that is blasted out of phone speakers and carried through the house by a woman who is shaking like a reed in the wind. Fear gets pushed away at the sound of voices. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. As long as it is played loud.
When the music is played, a bubble of sound is created around me. Protecting me from the intruders that haunt the night time and the monsters playing cards next to the broom. As long as there are songs playing, my fears are put to rest. Somehow, music keeps it all at bay.
During the daytime, it sounds ridiculous, even to me. Music does not make me any safer. A bubble of sound does not create a shield around me. It does not protect me from anything.
The thing is, logic does not combat imagination and fear. Imagination and music does.
I am finishing this post at 9:50pm. It is dark outside, silent outside, and the house creaks in still unfamiliar ways. If I look sideways down the hallway, I might see the dim form of my intruder. My imagination come to life and haunting my evenings. But I put on music, and if it is loud enough, I can’t hear the creaks. If it is loud enough, the bubble around me expands to fill my room.
As long as it plays. I am safe. And then the sun will rise, and I will see my fears for what they really are. Gurgles of the water heater, creaks of an old house, tree limbs knocking on my porch.
Until the sun rises, my music will play.