Things That Go THUMP in the Night

by Jeffery Williams

Somewhere in the distance, there resonates familiar THUMP BUMP noises of clumsy little feet. In a bedroom, down a hall, in the kitchen, down the stairs, above my head, in my head, somewhere there is enthusiasm and mischief stirring. Here at the very bottom floor, surrounded by carpet and celling, I am left as just a spectator to this symphony of distant jumping and pouncing about. Suddenly, a crashing THUD, and for an instant all is quiet. There is a glint of subconscious thought; oh how I miss the quiet and peaceful evenings of warm tea and Hemmingway. But then, instinctively, I raise my head, listening for the continuing tour de force of noise. Seconds before I feel the need to investigate, the resuming sound of beating size twos assures me that the all clear is given. A reverberating GIGGLE enters the room, possibly from the second story bathroom. Then the distant sound of a FLUSH – I don’t want to ask – and then the ruckus resumes, at a faster and possibly lighter paced dash. Has this been going on for an hour, or possibly even two? Tonight’s escapades must be good, though knowing the source, it would be hard to pinpoint the exact epic adventure. Perhaps it’s a war! The fuzzy legion of teddy bears against the invading horde of grouchy dinosaurs. You can trust me, they don’t get along; I’ve seen it many times before. Or maybe a spontaneous kitty cat transformation, where invisible whiskers sprout at the moons calling, followed by the obliging tale and claws. I smile to myself and say, “Those could be the noises of toys being put away.” Then I shake my head and wonder what vacation my senses have taken. Suddenly, the distant noises get louder, and with a CLANG, and a STUMBLE, and a SCUFF, she appears. The room lights up as my daughter enters. She is grinning from ear to ear, a bead of sweat rests on her forehead, and I wonder if that’s glue in her hair? I smile back and inquire what she’s been doing to create such an upstairs clatter? When, with an excitement only a 4-year-old can muster, she says, “Here Daddy!” Then she pulls from behind her a hand-made card, with the words I LOVE YOU in crayon, adorned with misshapen hearts affixed to both sides.

 

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