This afternoon, less than two weeks until Christmas, we finally got our [fake] tree down from the attic. I should rephrase that. John got our tree down from the attic.
I do not go up there. Ever. I did once and it took me 45 minutes to talk myself down. Climbing up the pull-down stairs went smoothly. But when I got what I needed and turned around to that giant hole in front of me, I freaked out. I threw down the wrapping paper I had retrieved. But throwing myself down was far more difficult. I have a paralyzing fear of heights, but for some ridiculous reason, I thought I could handle this.
After many attempts and much more talking-to-myself than is normal, I finally took several deep breaths and got down on my knees. No, not to pray for divine intervention so I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life up there. [Or at least the rest of the day, until John came home.]
From my kneeling position, I outstretched one leg into the abyss behind me until I felt the step. Then the other leg. Still convinced I was never going to make it down alive, I tried to just stop thinking and go. I pushed myself up with my hands and grabbed for the edges of the giant hole of doom. I dared to move one foot down to the next step. When I managed to move the other one, I was able to grab the ‘rail’ [I am using that term very loosely – what I had to hold onto can barely be considered a ‘rail’…]. Once my hands were clutching anything I could on the way down, I finally made it to the floor.
Imagine my horror when I began to fold the stairs back up and saw that I had left the attic light on. Oh my God! Fuck the light! No way in hell I was going back up there. I folded up the stairs and took my wrapping paper to the kitchen. Once my hands stopped shaking, I wrote John a little note.
J – I left the attic light on – could you please go up and turn it off?
Because I really don’t want to die up there. Thanks. Love you. –S
Back to this afternoon…
Yes, John brought down the tree. He went back to whatever he was doing outside. [Yes, it is 60 degrees (F) in coastal New England in the middle of December… apocalypse imminent.] Around this time, the kids asked for a snack. As I sliced a couple of apples, I heard a strange noise. Coming from the Christmas tree box.
Me: Did you hear that?
Zoe: [nodding] It sounded like it came from the tree.
Me: Maybe it was nothing. [continue slicing apples]
Zach: [having just walked past the box into the kitchen] The Christmas tree is making noise. Is it supposed to do that?
Me: [laughing] No, it most certainly is not!
We all walked a little closer to the box and stood in silence. Until we heard the sound again. It was unmistakable. Something was in that box with the tree and it wanted out.
Zoe: [running away] I’m going to lock myself in my room!
Zach: [heading back to whatever cartoon he was watching] I’m gonna be on the couch with my feet up. I need to take high ground!
Me: [quietly, to myself, as I grabbed a trash bag from the cabinet] Fuck me!
I frantically covered the small open part of the box with the trash bag and slapped a couple strips of tape on it. It wasn’t pretty. My hands were shaking. You’d think I was in the attic.
Then I ripped off my socks because it was faster than putting on shoes [yes, again, 60 degrees in December…] and ran outside to find John.
Me: [still in a panic] Honey, there’s something moving inside the tree box!
John: That’s impossible.
Me: Oh my God! Just get your ass in the house and drag that thing outside!
He followed me in and took the tree outside. I watched through the glass door. He pulled out the tree parts one by one. He shook each of them and pushed the branches around. I knew something was going to come crawling out of it and I was freaking out, even from behind the glass door.
Finally, the last piece of the tree.
John: Dude, there’s nothing here.
Me: Then what the fuck did we hear?
John: When I slid it down the stairs, the pieces probably moved around. I think you heard gravity in action, honey.
Me: [glaring] We all heard it. Zoe locked herself in her room. Zach took high ground. [laughing]
John: [also laughing] Can I bring this back inside now?
The tree is in the living room. All put together and lit up. Pretty with its glowing lights. Tomorrow we will hang the ornaments and garland and balls on it [yes, I said balls]. Hopefully the decoration box isn’t home to any little critters.
But I think I’ll have John open it. Possibly outside.