I spent the first 18 years old my life terrified of the basement in my parents’ house. One of those old-school basements cut straight from the set of a horror movie, it was lit by just a single dangling bulb which swayed from the ceiling, could only be entered by a rickety flight of steep wooden stairs, was coated with a healthy swathe of spider webs and was home endless amounts of old newspapers, magazines and military memorabilia. Needless to say, I avoided the place like the plague throughout my entire childhood.
Those childish fears started to melt away when I hit my 20s. I realized the world that lived and breathed all around you in the light was just as scary as the monsters your mind creates which could be lurking in the shadows of the basement, waiting to pounce. Something horrifying was more likely to happen to you at the hands of someone you knew, in broad daylight, than in the pit of your elderly parents’ house while you are alone.
It would be those that I knew better than anyone else in the world, my parents, who would end up hurting me the most. Both passed away in their early-70s within the same year. Only in my mid-30s, I wasn’t ready to lose them. Most of my friends still had grandparents who were alive and I was an only child orphan? The world wasn’t fair.
It took those 18 months for me to work up the strength to fly back to Minnesota in the dead of the frozen winter and clean out their house. Someone had finally made an offer on the place, so the least I could do was clean out my parents’ belongings before someone who thought it was a good idea to move to rural northern Minnesota thought better of it and changed their mind. I don’t know. Maybe they liked ice fishing, or something? Either way, best not to give them a reason to think twice.