Unheard

Something really bizarre happened yesterday night. I was in a very deep sleep when a huge crash accompanied by the sound of breaking glass woke me up. The sound is certainly what woke me up but I didn’t completely realize I was awake until I heard myself screaming. I immediately shut my mouth and struggled for orientation. My heart was pounding out of my chest and adrenaline was surging through my body. What the hell was going on in my house at 1:30 in the morning? While I am a vivid dreamer I knew that the crash and glass were real and I was painfully aware of how loud my scream had been. I grabbed my flashlight (which I always keep on my  night-stand, a habit I picked up in Uganda) and got out of bed. Then, I just stood there for a couple minutes. What was the sound I heard? Where had it come from? I stood in silence and realized I hadn’t heard anything since the crash, that was odd. My parents had to have heard it ; they had to have heard me screaming. I knew something was wrong. A crash, glass breaking, woman screaming- these are all things that tend to wake people up and yet my house was as quiet as a cemetery.

I’m not someone who waits around, I knew something was off and instead of waiting  for anything to happen I decided to take my flashlight and find out on my own what was going on. In the back of my mind I was worried and definitely scared, nothing was making any sense. Usually, Girl screaming (me)= Parents rushing to see what was going on. So, when my parents didn’t come rushing to see what would cause me to scream I knew something was wrong. Thanks to reading every Nancy Drew book ever, I knew how to proceed. I turned on my flashlight, quietly opened my door, and walked into the hallway ready to face whatever. I checked every corner of my sister’s bedroom, the guest room, and the game room and discovered nothing. Obviously whatever it was, it was downstairs. Wrong. I walked towards the top of the stairs when my flashlight glinted off something- broken glass. I pointed my flashlight in the corner and saw a large framed picture lying face-down on the ground surrounded by bits of glass. That picture and my room share two sides of the same wall, obviously that was the crash that woke me up. For an instant I felt relieved, then I realized I still had a mystery on my hands. How had my parents not heard the crash or my scream? I walked downstairs, less scared but still worried. My Mom usually hears everything. I did a quick sweep of our living room, dining room, and family room with my flashlight (Nancy Drew would never have skipped that) and saw nothing out of place. Then I walked to my parents room. Their door was shut and I couldn’t hear any noise coming from their room. No noise but the sound of their very loud fan. The loud fan they only use when our neighbors dog is barking because it drowns out all outside noise.

So, while it was very weird that a large picture that has hung on the wall for 2 years would mysteriously fall off that same wall at 1:30 am, it seemed that there wasn’t actually anything dangerous going on in my house. I went back up to my room, shut the door, sat on my bed, and promptly started crying. It was such a relief and my adrenaline was pumping so hard that I’m sure you will forgive me for being a bit silly. It was hard for me to go to sleep after that so I stayed up reading for a few more hours until my heart rate slowed and my body relaxed. The next morning my Mom came to my door trying to figure out why the picture was laying on the floor surrounded by glass. I told her the whole story. She hadn’t heard a thing (FYI, loud fan+closed door+NyQuil for her cold = Mom sleeping like the dead). We laughed about it a bit, cleaned up the glass, and went about our days.

Something about that bizarre night continued bothering me though. Then I remembered a dream I had when I was 7. Lions were attacking my family and right when one was about to kill me I woke up screaming. No one heard me. I remember waiting for what seemed like hours for my Mom or Dad to check on me and ask why I had screamed. Nobody ever came and I eventually fell back asleep. Maybe I hadn’t really screamed, maybe that time it was all in my dream, Mom and Dad (whose bedroom was right next to mine at the time) certainly hadn’t heard anything, but I always felt a little like I had been left adrift. And this time, I know I screamed out loud and in reality and nobody heard me and I keep thinking about how in horror films the bad guy always says “You can scream but nobody will hear you.” and I feel that.

My scary night ended up only being strange circumstances and I had nothing at all to be afraid of the whole time. And even though I’m not at all frightened now, I can’t help but think about how my screams go unheard.

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