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I had a routine, set up and ready to go
As the world was at its most silent, I was not.
Engrossed by the activities of the night as it was as young as me
I let the last crisp whisper of the mothball scented classic slip through my fingers
Jolted by the rude, masterful awakening by a reality I had not yet discovered for myself
Eyeballs to collarbone, submerged in my own bath of snot and saltwater and not yet ready to consider for myself the vulnerabilities and questions of a world where evil may exist and at times conquer good.
Rather than seek answers, I would seek shelter.
I would scoot to the edge of my bed, slowly letting only the very tips of my toes touch the floor before ever so gradually allowing my heels to hit the ground.
I arose, taking my first steps until there I was in front of my door, the most challenging portion of the escapade. There, I would cringe as I turned the doorknob and listened for the inevitable squeak to come.
Tears still streaming down my face, I was still the most vigilant of a ninja as you had ever seen. I would take a couple steps, hear yet another squeak and give in to scurrying the rest of the way.
I would knock and wait. And, the door would always open eventually to an exhausted and weary protector, typically my dad.
They would look at me and ask, yearning for sleep, but willing to humor me, what was wrong.
And, I would tell them in hiccuping gasps what I had read...spelling the stories of a boy who had to kill his beloved pet due to sickness that had ravaged it or a boy who left his quirky friend for a day at the museum with his teacher and had paid the ultimate price or anything else in the world I was not ready to question, doubt, or acquiesce to.
Instead, they listened. They offered a pillow at the foot of their mattress and allowed me to fall securely asleep knowing I was safe from harsh realities of a world I would soon fall into.