Saturday, 11 October 2008

You Don't Because You Don't

It's turning warm again.
Warm enough to throw off a couple of the blankets.
Warm enough to sleep with the window open and let the breeze rattle the blinds and startle the cats.
This time of year always makes me pause a moment because sleeping with the windows open used to be banned.
Flat out not allowed.

I didn't know why at the time, I just knew that every night before bed my mother would do the rounds and make sure our bedroom windows were securely shut and remind us in no uncertain terms that they were not, NOT, to be opened again until morning.
Insofar as I thought about it... well, I didn't.
The windows were closed at night.
End of discussion.

Fast-forward a few years to when I was slightly older but still young enough to think that scrunchies were awesome.
It is the hottest spring night in years, it is stifling, but outside there is a gentle movement of air that whilst not any cooler eases some of the oppressiveness.
So I ask my mother if it would be OK to leave my window open.
She says that's fine, seems surprised I even asked.
Even more surprised when I suggest that it's forbidden, isn't it?
I jog her memory.

And she tells me that one summer our town was the location of a string of bizarre assaults.
Almost every night a report would come in of children awaking to find a man crouched at the end of their bed sucking on their toes.
He would run away the moment they screamed and despite the high level of public alert it took weeks to catch him.
And when they did it was the guy who ran our local video store.
We'd been in there once or twice a fortnight for years.
He'd handed out sweets at the counter.
We'd stopped visiting that video store after that.
I hadn't asked why.
But I did keep my window closed.

So it's turning warm again and it's time to put away the winter woolies and pull the pedestal fans out of storage.
And over a decade later I still hesitate just for a moment before leaving my bedroom window open for the night.


Erin Palette said...

I have to say, as skeevy and creepy as breaking in and sucking the toes of sleeping children is, it was pretty tame compared to what he could have been doing.

Ricochet said...

This is true.
Here's hoping that once his sentence was up and his parents whisked him interstate he went for the therapy rather than promoting himself to anything more extreme.