Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Basement

I grew up in a large, creepy old house. Or maybe I just remember it that way. It had a huge upstairs with three big bedrooms, a full kitchen and bath. I liked it, this old house. Spent seventeen years there until I was unceremoniously thrown out after my junior year in high school. A well deserved tossing it was.
The creepy part, was the basement. It had housed a monster of a coal burner furnace that hissed the spookiest of sounds. They went on all night long and permeated throughout every space and crack. The basement weaved and tangled and angled around corners with it's only lighting being the occasional forty-watt bulb hanging low and naked. There were three ways in: the old broken down squeaky garage door right out of batman. If you really were going to try and put a car in there, you had to go down between two cement walls that lined the entrance and disappear, but the door was really only used to get the lawnmowers in and out. Another way in was the two small windows at the very end of the basement. A skinny psychopath could easily fit through the windows too dirty to see through. The last way in was the giant door to the coal room. The door looked like something from a castle dungeon and when we switched to Natural gas, it was boarded up. But I believed it could be negotiated and I never went near it.
The stairway down was creepy too. You entered a closet on the main floor where too many coats and boots were kept. You turned on the light switch to the lone bulb too far away and began the descent. The stairs were open to the back and under, where it was always dark and unknown. Anybody or anything could reach their hand through and grab your ankles as you walked down. I always ran hoping to stay ahead of their grab. And creak, boy did they ever.
When you got to the bottom, to the right the dungeon dropped off into creepy shadows and the lone lit bulb. Straight ahead went to the creepy windows in the canning room. To the left was the huge table piled high with whatever wasn't useful. A perfect place for hiding under while unsuspecting gatherers went to the only freezer in the house. You could have gone in any direction to turn on more lights, but it would lead you further from the stairs and then they would have to again be extinguished by the frayed little string hanging in the spider web.
So you made your dash, into the freezer, back turned to the creepy table, head buried deep to dig with no view of the canning room, and the Frankenstein door just to the side. And you bolted. Two large fast steps to the stairs and four jumps up. If lucky, you didn't trip and smack your knee on a step. I was rarely lucky, but I was never grabbed.
Here's the deal, though. I miss that journey. I miss those steps. I miss the rush. I think maybe I want somebody to reach out and grab my leg and snap me back into life. Terrify me into living. Make me jump and climb up.
I miss not knowing what's waiting to grab me.