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Monsters, snakes and leaves in the dark
When I was small and electricity went, monsters would instantly populate the dark. Scratch the “when I was small” part of that first sentence.
Their inconceivably ominous, overwhelmingly paralysing forms occupied my imagination. I was terrified that they lived under the bed, in the closet, in hallway shadows and behind closed doors. I wasn’t afraid of bandits, rapists or looming dangerous men. That’s now, not then.
Where did this fear come from and when did it become so palpable? What made it so irrationally resilient? Was there any way to conquer it, such that I ran monsters, monsters nah ran me?
Much later in life, I learned that other adults were actually not preoccupied with monsters once flung into the dense uncertainty of a T&TEC failure. Were they just brave or foolish? Was it worth the risk to find out?
Observing Ziya’s recently-acquired, screamingly-acute angst about the dark, I wondered if I was looking back at my own fear’s mysterious origins, if such anxiety is a natural part of everyone’s budding capacity to make-believe, the spectrum of fictive life that begins to be conceived at Zi’s developmental stage.
What is it about the dark that wrecked all the hours of socialisation I spent on hard propaganda about how she should be brave like Durga and strong like Kali, and badass unafraid?
It didn’t help that our dog was also trembling. That left me. For the three-year-old and the petrified pothound, I had to believe that we were safe. Full of bravado, I lay in the pitch-black stillness feeling like real big people. Dead truth was I was just waiting for Stone to get here and make everything okay.