Ma was convinced there was a box of animals or bugs in her closet. She took me into her room. The closet door was barricaded with some furniture and chairs.
Ma carefully slide the door open.
"I have to do this slowly because they fly up into your face," she whispered
Part of me knew there was nothing there. Part of me worried that Ma had seen a mouse or spiders. Part of me remembered she's using the room that was mine when I was little. I thought for a minute. No, I wasn't afraid of anything in the closet. I had an imaginery friend, Zippy (named after a stuffed monkey Himself had) who lived in the closet. Zippy didn't inspire fear even though his mouth looked like rick-rack. There was an alligator that lived under the bed, but I can't recall he ever relocated to the closet.
I cautiously peered over a chair. I knew if I saw a mouse or spider I was going to freak.
"See? In the box." She pointed to a rectangular object on the floor.
There was something on the floor. It could have been a box though it wasn't deep. The lid of a box perhaps. In the dark, I couldn't make out much.
"It's moving! See?"
"There's nothing moving Ma. It looks like a box of junk." I thought I saw a doll's head and maybe a leg or an arm. "Maybe some junk from the girls' dollhouses."
"Can't you see them moving?"
"There's nothing moving. I'll show you."
I reached into the closet to retrieve the box. Please God, don't let there be a dead mouse or a spider in here or I'll freak.
The object on the floor was a magazine. The doll's head was a picture of a woman bathing a dachshund in a sink. An ad for Kohler. I gave a nervous laugh mostly from relief.
"It's just a magazine. See? A Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Ma didn't look like she was convinced, but she dropped the subject.
All her men in the yard, animals in the fireplace and the closet started me down a rabbit hole of "what ifs" What ifs based on the old Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet starring William Shatner. If you don't remember the episode or were too young to ever see it, you can watch the You Tube synopsis.
What if Ma's right and the rest of us just can't see?