The Fear That Lies Beneath the Bed
I know everyone has experienced it, some time or another. The irrational fear of going into the basement, entering a dark room, or walking through a grove of trees at night- especially at this time of the year when all the leaves are gone and there are just sticks and spooky shadows. For whatever reason, we just know something is watching us, stalking us, and at any moment- when we least expect it- is ready to grab us from behind and drag us away.
Generations of kids- and sometimes not so kids- have lived in fear of what lies beneath the bed. They are in terror of leaving a foot too close, too long next to the edge of the bed. I admit it, I have always been afraid of that brief moment after my foot hits the floor and I start to stand up. "Is there anything under the bed?" Just to be on the safe side, I always offer a quick prayer as I put space between myself and the edge of the bed.
It happened on one of those nights when everyone is asleep and you're there still wide awake...feeling thirsty. I wanted to get a drink of water, but that would mean I would have to get out of bed...and it's dark. I was a prisoner of my own irrational fear.
No!!! Enough is enough! I decided to prove to myself (and to all of humanity) that this fear of something being under the bed is completely unfounded! It's not like I had never seen beneath the bed before. All previous inspections had turned up not one demon, not one monster, not even one bad guy! I would symbolically, and actually, put my foot down once and for all and not be afraid. I was not going to pray for protection either! I was going to be the grown man that I was and just do it!"
I flung my covers off with authority and in a mighty gesture I took my small step for man- giant leap for mankind and planted my foot squarely on the floor. My other foot majestically took the spot right next to the first as my body swung around to an upright sitting position. I sat there for a moment as if I was King of a newly conquered world. And then it happened.
In a wink of an eye, my foot was grabbed from the dark underbelly of the bed. I gasped for air, felt my blood run cold and I could feel my whole body swell with fear. After all those years of waiting for me to blink, to let down my guard, something had grabbed me, caught me- like a fly in a spider's web! My own arrogance had lead me to this demise. "Do I dare look?", I thought. Of course, I have to look!
I looked down at my feet and there, with a firm grip was my worst fear. An arm, a skeleton arm, partially clad in a dark robe sleeve protruding out from under the bed, it's bony fingers securely wrapped around my ankle. I was stunned, injected by the venom of fear. I couldn't think. I couldn't scream for help. I had already screwed myself on the praying thing. I began to accept my doom.
I felt the grip of the hand tighten as it started to pull back as if to pull me under the bed. I didn't move. The arm pulled again, this time a bit more forceful and with a jerk. I still didn't move. A light turned on in my head! It had waited too long! What started out as a scrawny 6-year-old boy was now a "too-much-for-skeleton-demon" 240-pound man- definitely not to be dominated by bone and robe!
I kicked my leg up as hard as I could and could barely contain my smile when I heard his bony head clunk against the bed rails. I laughed as I did it several more times. This was fun now! I felt his grip loosen, so I quickly reached down and grabbed the arm that had held me bound and yanked that so-called demon out from under the bed. And then I saw what I believe no one else has ever seen before...I saw fear in the face of fear!
I laughed in its face- "HA!" and let it go. It and his black robe began disappearing...Nay! Running...Nay! Fleeing into the darkness.
What exactly was I supposed to glean from this moment? I am not entirely sure, but I know I learned a couple of things, four things actually.
First: Sometimes, as in the case of my skeleton friend, you can wait too long for some things.
Second: Sometimes, as in my case, good thing do come to those who wait.
Third: Size does matter.
And Fourth and the probably the ultimate lesson: THERE WAS SOMETHING UNDER THE BED!!!!!!!