Click HERE for Part I
As I noted in the conclusion of Part I, of this series, I was the only person in my household who had seen and heard the man in the closet. As absurd as this may sound (especially since I was not quite 5 years old), I knew there was something in there. But, who is going to listen to a 5 year old boy about a "man in my closet?" Most will pass it off with laughter and tell you there is nothing there. Others will go to the closet (as my mother did on numerous occasions) to show me there was nothing in there but clothes, baseballs and bats and toys. To this day, I firmly believe there was something in that closet. I saw it only the very briefest of times. You know how you are startled by something you see out of the corner of your eye? That is how brief the times were when I actually saw the man in the closet. More importantly, I heard it as well. Mere imaginative words and make believe world of a small child, you say. Well, let's delve into Part II.
About three weeks after the initial incident with the man in the closet, things were quiet in there. I saw or heard nothing in the closet. I was still apprehensive about going in there. I was still scared (and still scared of closets to this day). But, I also realized there was no way I could get around not going into the closet to retrieve clothes, toys, etc. It wasn't something I wanted to do. I would do everything I could do or say to get out of going into my closet in my bedroom. Soon, my father would be home from a business trip. He was a no-nonsense type, even more so than my mother was. He wouldn't put up with my "man in the closet hysterics" as my mother chose to call them. Little boy that I was, I was so scared until I was having trouble keeping food down. I would vomit when made to go to bed at night. My mother, to her credit, would turn on the light and search the closet to show me there was nothing there. But, I was losing weight and mom took me to see the doctor. Like all adults, he laughed off my man in the closet story. However, he did tell my mother that he felt I sincerely believed there was something in that closet. He suggested we leave the closet door open and put in a small light (lights in closets were not common in 1956). But, that was the beginning and ending of any help from the medical community. I felt I was basically on my own with this "thing" in my bedroom closet.
As it turns out, as soon as my father came back from his business trip (I can't remember where he went for three weeks), my mother and little brother, Ben, took the train to see my grandmother who was ailing a bit. That means it was just me and my dad. My father was going to be cook, housekeeper and laundry man for about two weeks. Dad was never the loving, kindly father I would have preferred. He cared for me and Ben. But, he was preoccupied with business. He didn't have time to play ball or entertain a nearly five year old boy. He did make me pick up everything in my room, something my mother used to do. In short, I was going to help out around the house. My father was not much of a cook. But, it didn't matter. I wasn't eating much anyway. After we both finally finished dinner, dad told me to sit down on the couch with him. I had a pretty good idea what was coming next. It was usually something I had done wrong. "Your mother tells me you have something in your closet. Something that you say is scaring you," he said to me. I looked up at him with trembles in my voice. "There is something in my closet, dad. I have heard it and saw it," I told him. He told me to come with him. Yes, we went to my closet, and took everything out and put it all back in. "Now, what did you see in the closet?" he asked. "Nothing, nothing at all," dad said to me. "I will always protect you until you are able to protect yourself. Now, I want you to get over all this. It is your imagination. Go get ready for your bath and then bed," my father said to me quite sternly. I knew it was going to be like this.
I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth after my bath. My father picked out pajamas and underwear for me to wear to bed. I had the door slightly ajar and noticed my dad went into my room. I was hoping he was checking out the closet one last time. I remember being so scared, so helpless to do anything. Most kids hate going to bed, true enough. I hated going to bed because of what I thought was a monster in my closet. I was brushing away when I heard my dad say, "David?" "David?" I couldn't answer him because, like most kids that age, I put way too much toothpaste on my brush. Once you started brushing, that toothpaste multiplied in your mouth. Now, as I recall, my closet and the bathroom were separated by a thin wall. I heard something move in that closet. Thinking it was my dad rummaging around in there, I thought nothing about it. Then my dad backed out of bedroom....looking straight ahead as if in a trance. I spit out the toothpaste and asked, "Are you okay, daddy?" As I asked that question, I heard that familiar "hee hee" I had heard before. I looked at my dad....he looked at me. Dad grabbed the doorknob to my bedroom and closed the door. "You'll be sleeping with me tonight, David. Finish brushing your teeth and get to bed," my father said to me. I didn't ask why. I put on my pajamas and headed to my parents bedroom. My dad waited until I got in the bed before he turned off the lamp next to his side of the bed. We both laid there in the darkness, not sleeping, no words between us. This seemed to last forever. My dad had his hands up under his head, as he lay on his back.. So, I knew he was not sleeping.
"Son, you were telling the truth," my father said breaking the silence of the still, dark room. Again silence. I wasn't about to say, "I told you so." Not to my father anyway. I waited. "Until I figure out what's going on in this house, you and your brother will be sleeping on the small cot in this bedroom. There is no need to mention anything to your mother as to why I want you both in here," he said. "I'll think up something to tell her that she will believe," dad said. He turned to look at me. I could see the concern in his eyes, the worry even in the darkness of the room. "I'll never doubt you again, son. Never. I'll get to the bottom of this, one way or another. I saw something in that closet also. Whatever it is, it is not going to scare us out of our home," my father said to me. "Now, get some sleep. You have a school day tomorrow. And don't worry. I am here to protect you. Nothing will ever harm you as long as I am around," dad said.
I felt as if 500lbs of weight had been lifted off my little shoulders that night. My father, of all people, believed now there was something in that closet of my bedroom. I knew my dad would get to the bottom of it. He was not one who would back off of a challenge. My father did not tell me what he saw that night in the closet until the night before I was about to go off to Vietnam during my time in the U.S. Navy. But, that is another story for another chapter of "Man in the Closet."
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Click HERE for Part I