Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Love is Being Vomited On and Not Saying a Word

Doctor Jenni and I shared a bedroom from my earliest memory until I was around 10 when a king-size waterbed arrived via Santa for her and our oldest sister, Rache. Up until the waterbed arrived, Jenni and I had occasional twin bunkbed beds, mostly separated and kept a room's width apart.

We were living in the top two apartments of a four-plex apartment house in a blip of a Wyoming town 40 miles north of Casper. It was my fourth home in four different towns in as many years as I'd been alive. It was winter. Blind Betsy was gone - working on her Master's in piano performance at UNC in Greeley.

The room Jenni and I shared included 3 doors...the door to the room, the closet door, and the door behind which lived the monster.

I'm not even kidding.

Every night, the lights would be turned out and I would lie awake and watch that door. Eventually, a click click CLICK ROAR would sound, blue flame would erupt, and I, in my infinite scaredy catness would become stiff with terror.

Enter. The Blue Ghost.

Click Click CLICK ROWWWWWWR!!! Not an actual photograph. Artistic rendering.

Terrified does not even describe it.

In a world full of very real monsters, I had to have an imaginary one too? Yeah. I know. Right?

It's a wonder I was able to sleep the two years we lived there. As an aside, the only way I was able to sleep, was to tell myself a story...the story that The Blue Ghost, in reality, was my most favorite person in the world - my cousin, John - who, night after night, would sneak behind that door, don his Blue Ghost costume, scare the shit outta me, and then come bursting forth, radiating sunshine and love, to scoop me up and carry me off to some warm, safe place...most often a trampoline situated strategically under an awesome treehouse.

I'm not even kidding.

That never actually happened though.

So, one night, I wasn't feeling so hot. Maybe I was sick. Maybe I'd eaten too many hot dogs and Kraft macaroni and cheese at the Brocks' house just behind us. Maybe it was a combination of that and missing my mom.

I don't know.

What I do know, is that, as I laid in bed, petrified by the Blue Ghost who'd made his grand entrance, I started to feel really really nauseated. And my choices were limited to these:

A) Dash madly across the room to Jenni's bed where there was body warmth provided by my 8-year-old sister and a wee bit of possible comfort and safety, or
B) Try to make it directly past The Blue Ghost's door to the bathroom where the toilet was.

Guess which one I chose?

That's right. Jenni.

I'm fairly certain she didn't feel me climb up into the bed with her even though I practically projected my 4-year-old body at her like a rocket.

What I am certain of is that, the moment I got there, she totally felt the hot vomit spilling out onto her arm.

Because, when she immediately woke up thereafter, I was staring at her, smacking my lips, and crying.

She hasn't let me forget this. Nor would I want to. That memory of her is what love is about. Providing comfort even when you're being projectile vomited upon. I don't remember her scolding me, yelling at me, or even saying much of anything. She just...took care of me. Even defying The Blue Ghost, who, for some reason, didn't even phase her.

That's what love is. I learned this. Early. And well.

Note: I was in my 20's before Jenni finally explained to me what caused The Blue Ghost. If you haven't guessed, the door behind which lived The Blue Ghost, was actually the home of the furnace. When it clicked on, the blue flame was visible in the crack between the door and the floor. Until then, I thought I'd simply imagined it.


Diva said...

I don't cry.

Damn you, Jane. Damn you.

Matt said...

I was TOTALLY afraid of a furnace when I was four, too! It's the only damn thing I remember from living in New Jersey!