1989…

The darkness filled the room. We hadn’t noticed. We were engrossed.

“I’ll be back”.

We jumped. ” Jesus that was scary ” Puds turned to face me.
“Where is L? ” I looked around the darkened room, grabbing at my older sisters hand. ” It got very dark” Puds took my hand and stood. “She’s probably just checking on the kids” her voice wobbled. “I didn’t see her leave though, Puds” I stammered.

We walked slowly out of the dark sitting room, holding our breaths we turned the corner to a dimly lit hallway. “I’m scared” I whispered. ” Shhh, will ya. She’s probably just down in her bedroom” Puds tried to reassure me. ” The hallway looks so long” I squeezed her hand. She squeezed it back.

A sliver of light, shone from under the bathroom door. ” L” Puds, tapped the bathroom door. No answer. ” Oh Jesus Puds” I whispered. ” L” Puds called again, slightly louder. ” Who’s in there then?” I asked while images of the ‘Terminator’ fixing his arm in the bathroom flashed through my now, petrified eight year old mind. I tapped the door. ” L” my voice shook.

Puds suggested we check the G’s  room and L’s before we go back to the bathroom. “Ok” I held on as she dragged me to G’s  room. She turned the handle as quietly as her shaking hand could. When considering G, it was always best to ‘not poke the bear’, the last thing we needed to do was wake our over stimulated 6 year old cousin. We listened carefully, his snores were loud, it was clear G was not in the bathroom.

We crept to L’s room. The door ajar, the baby asleep in his cot. We stood in the safety of the dimly lit bedside lamp. ” L?” Puds whispered, watching the baby suck his dummy. “Oh Jesus Puds. Where is she?” I tugged her arm. “What if the Terminator is real?” my heart raced as visions of the ‘Terminator’ grabbing our aunt and killing her, us running with the baby,trying to find our Uncle, screamed through my mind.

“Terminator is not real. God. I knew you were too young to be watching it. Granny was right. You are a baby, still.” Puds rolled her eyes. ” Lets go back up to the bathroom and just go in” she whispered.I didn’t want to. I wanted to go back to Grannys house. (further up on the farm) I wanted to tell Granny that I’d never, ever complain about her black and white television ever again for the rest of my life. I wanted to be in my bed in Grannys, drowned in Holy water, ( as she did each night before we slept – we hadn’t the heart or the balls/confidence, to tell her she was soaking us and our bed clothes each night she blessed us ) . I wanted Granny to know she was right, Puds was wrong, I was way too young to watch the ‘Terminator’. I took a deep breath, I hated when Puds called me a baby. L is here somewhere I told myself, Terminator is not real, he’s not real…” Ok ” I whispered to Puds as we stepped back into the darkness.

We stood staring at the door handle.Both wanting to open it, both afraid to. “I’m gonna open it” Puds whispered, her hand dancing above the handle. ” Will I?” she turned to me. I swallowed hard. “Yes” I placed my damp hand above hers and we opened the door together.

The brightness of the light stunned our eyes, for a second. Then we screamed. We screamed and ran back up to the sitting room, flicking on every light on our way. We didn’t care that we might wake the kids. We didn’t care about the price of having every light on, recession or not we were not waiting in the darkness anymore.

“Girls. Girls.” she chased us up to the sitting room. We stood frozen, staring at our aunt,wrapped in a towel. “Girls. Did I frighten ye?” she laughed as we both blushed.”Is your movie over? Are ye going up to Grannys now? Uncle J will be home shortly if ye are too frightened to walk alone? ” she looked at us both, trying not to laugh. ” We’ll take the flash light” Puds took my hand, ” We will be fine”. ” Ok girls, we will see ye in the morning” she turned,fixing her towel as she left.

It was exactly 110 steps to Grannys house, I counted them, plenty of nights that the trees and random ‘baaa-ing’ of the sheep frightened the life out of me on my way to and from my Uncles house to hers.

Puds switched on the torch before we even left the house. She began to giggle,” Now Ger, THAT was scary!” .

We strolled up to Grannys each of us reliving the bathroom scene we stumbled upon. I was confused a little over what exactly L was doing. “Puds, I don’t know what L was doing though?”. “She was shaving her arm pits and legs Ger.” Puds laughed loudly. The bleating of the sheep didn’t bother me this time. “For what?” I asked. “Dunno. It’s something grown-ups do, I think mam does it too. All I know is, seeing her with like that is far far scarier than the ‘Terminator’”. We both laughed. “She did scare me!I could see everything Puds. Everything”. “I know! ~Now girls, what have I told ye about the price of turning on every light in the house huh? huh?” Puds did a great impression of L. ” She didn’t open her mouth about the lights after scaring us for life, did she?!” We both laughed as we turned the corner to Granny’s well lit back door.

“What are ye two giggling about? Ah girleen’s ‘tis time for bed. In ye come” Granny smiled as she took the Holy water in her hand. “How was L?” she asked as she closed the door behind us. “Well,… she’s clean” Puds replied as I stood bent over laughing.

We still laugh about that night, how frightened we were and how we learned a valuable lesson~ always, always give an unlocked, lit up bathroom, a good hard knock before you open it~

Author

geraldinesmyth@gmail.com

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