Well, I promised some stories for this post. I’m really exhausted…so I’m hoping my explanations of everything I’m about to type makes sense. I promised knives, gremlins, and government spies I do believe…
When you’re a child, your parents do things sometimes that don’t make sense to you. But you’re told to go along with it…and you do…because quite frankly, you don’t have much of a choice. My father did things sometimes that I questioned…but I quickly learned to not question anything. It didn’t matter how weird it seemed…there was a reason behind it. Reasoning that made some kind of sense most of the time. And considering asking him about his behavior usually led to anger…I stayed out of it.
One of these situations I’m referring to involves the vents in the floor of some homes. You know what I’m talking about…those metal grates in the floor? Well when I was about 12-13, we had a house with those vents in every room. My father used to pull the metal pieces out of the carpet, so it would just be these big gaping holes in the floor. It drove me nuts (I have a little OCD)…but I would leave them out. The one time I did ask my dad why we left the vents open like that, he explained that it was for “better circulation”. With the metal pieces not being in the floor, air could circulate faster…thus making the house warmer/colder faster. At the time, this made perfect sense to me! In addition he told me, with my asthma…that would help keep down the dust in the air. Without the metal at the end of the vent…less dust would collect and then get blown around. Again…what perfect sense! What a loving awesome father...so concerned for my health. HAHAHAHA. Right.
When my father would come off of a high (as most addicts)…he would get very honest. It was kind of nice, because before he would hit the “angry…need another fix” guy…he’d be the loving father we all knew he could have been. On the nights where he would come down…he’d put himself on a guilt trip, and feel the need to confess everything in the world. Whether it was how much he loved his children, or admitting to something he’d done…he would just talk your head off. It was one of these nights that I found out the real reason for the removing of the vents.
As I’ve mentioned, my father is an extreme addict. When he would be on the harder drugs, (cocaine, heroin, etc)…he would hallucinate. Apparently one of the more common things he’d see were gremlins. Tiny little beings that would hide in the vents watching him. He had himself convinced in his high state that if the metal vents weren’t there…the gremlins would be trapped in the vent. They’d have nothing to cling to in order to climb out. He was terrified of these little things that were “watching him” and thought it was impossible to get rid of them. They would continuously follow him from house to house, and keeping those vents out were the only way to protect himself.
And people don’t believe me when I say he’s insane…
So moving on. I was a big outdoorsy kind of kid. I loved spending time on the lake, at the park, in the yard. During the summer I would babysit my little brother during the days and of course I’d take him outside (he was little so he’d really only hang out in his bouncer/on a blanket). But while we’d be outside I’d plant flowers, work in the garden, or just play with him. I was going through the front flower beds the one day…when I almost cut myself on something shiny deep in one of the bushes. I carefully reached in to pull it out…to find that there was a VERY large butcher knife sticking up out of the bush…blade up. I was highly confused…but took it inside, and kind of forgot about it. A few days later I mentioned it to my dad…and he acted like it was this huge accident…he couldn’t BELIEVE he left that out there. After all, he just took it out there because he “couldn’t find anything else strong enough to cut some branches off the bush”. Now again…as a kid…this made sense to me. Seemed a little strange, and now that I look back on it, it seems completely insane…but at the time…it made sense. Now the real reasoning for the butcher knife I’ll explain in a moment. But there are some other details I should explain first.
Strange habit #3 of my father. He would take blankets/large towels/sheets, etc. and put them up over the windows. Every night he would close the blinds, and then proceed to cover all of the windows with darker material (including the bedrooms, living room, and so on). He told me that it was to help keep out the extra light in the morning, and told me that it would help me get a deeper sleep. And yet again…made PERFECT sense to my 12 year old brain. Now the real story behind the butcher knife and the blankets wasn’t something I found out until years later. In one of his “admission moments” he told my step mom all about the government spies watching him. Apparently these spies came at night…(what for, I still don’t know). They would go around the house peering in the windows…watching for him and just waiting to come get him. I have no idea what exactly he thought they were going to do to him…but he was terrified of them. If he blocked out the windows they couldn’t see in…and if he got lucky…they would kill themselves on the butcher knives placed strategically in the bushes under all of the windows.
I have these strange memories of those last few years with him. Memories in one house in particular of him creeping around the house at 3 in the morning. I remember there being nights where I would stir slightly in my sleep, and just barely open my eyes. But when I would…I would see him crouched down in the hallway, slowly going around corners, and staring into rooms. I would quickly shut my eyes, and attempt sleep again. Talk about drug induced paranoia.
It’s all completely crazy…and it still throws me off. These stories sound crazy to me…and I lived them.