We had emptied the dehumidifier twice that day. I was learning what it meant when writers described the air as “so thick you could cut it with a knife.” Thank the good Lord for air conditioning.
My youngest son was home for the holiday weekend and crashing on the couch in the living room. My oldest son was tucked away in his bedroom, the door firmly closed and asleep in his bed.
My daughter was asleep on the bunk bed above mine and she and I had on our sleeping masks to reduce light exposure and encourage deeper, quality sleep. At least that’s what we hoped for.
The fan was running in our room and the air conditioner humming away in the furnace closet.
There was a flash of light in the hallway I could see through the mask, and a door slammed. The idea of being quiet at night completely eluded my youngest son.
It wasn’t long and I was back to sleep.
“Hey!” . . . was it from the front of the building? Was it my son?
But then all was quiet again.
Minutes later the door to our room burst open and my youngest son, dressed only in his skivvies, was slamming the bedroom door shut and the flashlight on his phone was waving wildly around the room.
In what can only be described as a high pitched squeal, he tried to form the words “mom.” It took a couple of tries before it came out in a sound that was intelligible.
It was as if life had quickly slowed – or I was thinking at warp speed. An intruder? No – he would have yelled for his brother. A fire? No – he wouldn’t have locked the bedroom door and the flashlight would not be frantically panning the ceiling.
What else could it be?
“Mom! It’s a creature! It’s flying in the living room and it’s BIG!”
It took a minute or two for him to get out the story . . .
He had been lying quietly on the couch, watching television on his phone (2:30 in the morning! But that’s another story) when he heard some rustling at one end of the room. He called out to see if I was up and about – like I’m roaming at 2:30 am!
When no one answered, he turned on the flashlight to catch a glimpse of something flying low over his head.
Without thinking he raced to the front hall bathroom where he sat for 20 minutes, trying to work up enough courage to run down the adjoining hall to my bedroom.
Twenty minutes later – that’s where he arrived, flailing around the room, nearly jumping out of his skin.
After several minutes, he convinced me there really might be something in the family room. I turned on my phone, flipped on the flashlight and pointed it through the kitchen and into the family room.
And there it was. Flying around the family room in circles, nearly soundless except when it inadvertently bumped into one of the paintings on the walls. It was more than a shadow, but less than a bird. And constant – constantly moving and flying as I watched for several minutes.
My youngest daughter opened the door and looked too – and watched fascinated by the outdoors that had made it’s way inside.
After several minutes my daughter and I agreed we should get the dog in the bedroom with us, but my son didn’t agree. She’d be fine, he tried to convince us.
So when my daughter – YES, she is braver than mom! – raced down the hall to let our puppy out of her kennel, my youngest son made his way into the walk-in closet and slammed the door shut.
By this time we’d woken up my oldest son, who informed us through the wall, that he was thoroughly tired and safe. The bat could wait till breakfast.
So, with one fan and four hot bodies in the bedroom, we settled down at 3am to try to sleep.
The next morning my daughter and I ventured out into the family room. We searched high and low, looking in every nook and crevice we could find, for a small black creature who scared the pants off my son (literally) and his family.
Visions of rabies shots, capturing a snapping, short snout flying creature and doctors visits kept flashing through my head. But the bat had vanished – likely creeping out the same way he came in, through a small hole in the ceiling in the furnace room.
Several months ago the people living above us had knocked out a pipe in their furnace room, which had flooded ours and opened a hole in the ceiling. It had never been fixed – but it is now!
Recounting the story to my oldest the next day was almost as funny as the my youngest antics the night before. The youngest declared he had wanted to call 9-1-1 that night, but his silly mom had stopped him. After all, these men were paid to be MEN!
It’s a crazy, treasured memory I’ll keep the night my son, daughter, dog and I shared a room, door closed and locked securely (my son insisted – in case my oldest had any ideas that venturing out of his room and into ours was a good idea). We giggled and laughed, trying to fall asleep . . . and I was grateful for spending another night with most of us under one roof.