It’s 2 a.m. You wake up with a jolt, and sit straight up in bed. As your eyes adjust to the fuzzy darkness, you feel your increasing heartbeat in your throat. What was that? Was that the floor creaking?! It sounded like a door opening. No way. Wait! There it was again… Should you investigate? It was probably nothing. You spent the rest of the night awake, your eyelids only slightly closed, shooting open in fear every few seconds.
You’re in the shower. ”Blurred Lines” is running on a loop through your head. What does rhyme with hug me? You’re massaging Herbal Essences through your locks, when shivers overtake your body. Is there someone in the bathroom? There could be. You’d never know with that opaque shower curtain. Carefully, you peak around the corner of the polka dot plastic, sans game plan if your gaze does actually meet another set of eyes.
We’ve all been there. The irrational fear that comes with being home alone.
I’m 22 and I’ve never truly been home alone. Don’t get me wrong, I spent countless nights during college by my lonesome while a roommate had an adult sleepover. There even was a winter term where my roommate studied abroad, leaving me to ride solo in our two-bedroom house (even though I technically spent most of my time at my boyfriend’s place). Regardless of all that higher ed independence, i’ve never spent an evening alone in my childhood home.
My parents didn’t go places without us. Because they’re great and because I believe they put our entertainment over their own sanity, we were included on every trip. The few times my brother and I weren’t included, a relative took over kid watch. So there were no house parties with underage drinking and the requisite panicked solo cup clean up the morning after. There was no Mom and Dad are gone! binging of Hostess snacks and gallons of Mountain Dew. I was never left alone, in our house, over night. That is – until this week.
My life isn’t very exciting right now, so I’ve been quick to jump on basically any activity offered. But when my family decided to drive to Ohio to attend a golf tournament, I actually passed. I could certainly handle staying home alone. I mean come on, I’m 22. But at three in the morning, in the attic of our four story house, I regretted that decision.
On the night in question, I arrived home around midnight after a busy day. My first decision was to turn on every light in the entire house. Darkness hides things, I rationalized. Then again, a house completely illuminated at one a.m. is a little suspect. So then I decided to turn off half the lights. That would be better. I opted against sleeping in my bedroom due to a recent visit from a less than desirable creature, and cozied up in our second-floor guest room. After 30 minutes of paranoia, I then decided that if someone were to break into the house, I’d be right in the line of fire. At least in my room, even with the creepy crawler, I’d be the last stop for home invaders. So I finally settled down in my own bed, at around 3 a.m., with the lights on, TV blaring and curtains wide open. And I never fell asleep.
I avoid horror movies – they give me nightmares. I always lock the doors, even when I’m home during the day. I will admit to a slight “Law and Order: SVU” addiction, but otherwise, I avoid things that could be scary. In fact, as a kid my parents called me “safety Lindsay.” But there’s something about being alone, no matter how old you are, that gives you the heebie-jeebies.
I just hope that next time I’m a little bit more-Macaulay Culkin about the whole thing.