It was a spring night, many years ago. It was a little past eleven when I headed over to see this girl that I was dating at the time. I climbed the lattice up to her bedroom window, which she had left unlatched for me. I found her waiting in the lamp light. Her face lit up as I came stumbling through the curtains. But before I could even take a breath and really enjoy the moment, there was a loud, rough, knock at the door. It was the girl’s father. She quickly stuffed me into her closet, and I burrowed as deeply as I could into the old clothes piled on the floor. I kept my eyes fixed on the thin band of light at the bottom of the door and I held my breath.
I spent the next week trapped in this house. The father was constantly trumping around upstairs, and there was no clear opportunity for me to slip away. I never actually saw the man, but I continually heard his heavy steps and his booming, angry voice, like an ogre out of a fairy tale. I was terrified that he would find me. I had to keep moving. He was remodeling one of the upstairs rooms, putting in dark paneling and hooking up a TV and a stereo speaker system. Every whack of the hammer send a sharp pain through my heart, and several unpleasant images through my mind.
At one point, I think he caught a glimpse of me. It was at least enough to make him drop what he was doing and get up to make sure that he wasn’t seeing things. I had slipped into a spare bedroom in the back that had been closed off and was stuffed with folded clothes and unused odds and ends. There were boxes piled on the bed, and thick dust hanging in the sunbeam. I climbed under the bed and waited. I heard him come in and I grabbed hold of the box spring as tight as I could when he picked up the whole bed with one hand to look under it. He stood there holding the bed, and scrutinizing the patch of carpet beneath it. The springs were digging into my hands. I braced myself as he let the bed fall back to the floor. Then he left the room, grumbling to himself.
Well, that about did it for me. I was getting out of there as fast as I could. As soon as I heard his thudding steps making their way back downstairs again, I slipped out from under the bed and ran to the same window that I had climbed in through. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the warm air that hit my face when I opened the window had never smelled so sweet. I could hear the far off sound of someone mowing their lawn. I scrambled out the window, dropped to the ground, and took off down the street.