What I Remember

It was a little past noon. I was four years old and staying at the babysitter’s house. My brother was due home from school in the next hour or so.

I remember not wanting to take a nap. I remember being fussy and wanting to wait for my brother to come home before I went to sleep… the babysitter didn’t see this as an option and after I had gotten out of bed once, she dropped me in the crib, yelling “if you are going to act like a baby, you will be treated like a baby” She really had a way with words.

I cried and cried. I wanted to see my brother. I wanted to get up. I wanted out of the crib. I promised to be good if she let me sleep in the bed, but she continued to ignore me. I guess I don’t blame her, perhaps I would have done the same thing in her situation…can’t say for sure now.

After about 5 minutes of my tantrum, the babysitter’s older son (maybe 20 years old at the time) took me out of the crib, carried me into the basement. He sat down beside me on the bottom step and told me that the boogyman lived down there. That he had eaten many bad children that wouldn’t take their naps, and he had no choice but to leave me there. He left me there and walked upstairs turning off the light and locking the door on his way out.

I don’t remember crying. I don’t remember moving. I don’t remember anything except this paralyzing fear as I stared into the blackness waiting for death. I was four and I was waiting to die.

He left me down there for hours…until my brother came home and asked where I was. They finally let me out and my brother called my mom to come get us. I don’t think we went back there again…although I don’t remember. I don’t remember getting out of the basement. I don’t remember anything except that horrible alone, dark, scared feeling. I remember that so clearly to this day.