Wednesday, May 27, 1981
Twenty-one years before the need for a mandap, my daughter awakes in the night screaming with terror. From a sound sleep I'm up and in her room. She's two and a half. She's clutching her special blanket.
"What is it?"
"An ookie spookie monster was coming in the window."
I check the window. Closed. Peering out, I say, "It's gone now."
I wait until she's calmed down, sleeping, then return to bed.
A half hour later she's screaming again. Before I can get up she runs to the bed and climbs in. "It came back," she says. "I heard it."
She stays until morning.
At breakfast I talk about how sometimes, especially at night, we think we see or hear things that are really only in our imaginations. Ideas get planted in our minds. Sometimes in the daytime we see something, and it stays in our mind, and then later at night we think about it. Did somebody read a story about monsters yesterday?
"But I heard it," my daughter says. "With my ears."
"It might've been branches. The wind can blow them and they scrape against the house."
"Ookie spookie branches."
I can't argue with that.
After dropping her at school, my morning job is to install a dryer outlet at a little bungalow in Redwood City. The owner left me a key and warned me: "I've got a restraining order against my husband. Do not let him in. He's trying to get the Bosendorfer."
"Uh... The what?"
"The piano. And you really don't want to know about all that."
It's a quiet morning in a quiet neighborhood. As I put the key in the lock, from inside the house I hear somebody playing a piano. An atonal scale. Modern junk. I open the door a crack. "Hello?" I call.
The piano stops. No answer.
I stick my head inside. The shades are drawn, but I can see the piano. Nobody there.
"Hello?" I call again.
The house is silent.
Okay I admit: I'm spooked.
There's a flash of motion, a gray blur over the rug.
It dashes between my feet: a kitten. And it's gone.