Although I see the pixie face at the window, I widen my eyes in the dark, disbelieving.
The entire tiny form then somehow squeezes through the fractionally opened window. A cold November air has swiftly turned the bedroom frigid, causing me to burrow deeper into my flannel sheets, but my eyes remain outside the comforter.
In the 2.a.m-dark-room, I watch the silvery shadow move swiftly from window ledge to underneath the bed.
I grin like a school girl despite my over-half-a-century wrinkled and wrung out face, and shout out loud: “YES!”
“Shhhhhh,” comes forth a soft-as-satin sound from underneath my bed.
“But I always knew!” I whisper back.
Then I sit up straight in my queen-sized bed, sheet still pulled up to my chin, and ask in a normal voice: “Why are we whispering?”
“So you don’t get into trouble,” the sound says gently, the way I remember it over 50 years ago.
“But my parents don’t live here,” I explain. “No one is going to tell me you don’t exist anymore.”
As clear as daylight I see mom and dad trying to convince 4-year-old me that the winged pixie I describe flitting from corner to corner is actually a monster under my bed.
My parents are sure that I’m experiencing a young child’s rite of passage – a bedtime monster – which is much easier for them to believe than a flying fairy.
My dad rushes into my room, thrusting a broom under my bed, in, out, in, out, then proclaiming: “There, I’ve killed the mean old monster. Nothing more to worry about!”
At 4, I don’t know how to explain to them that I’m not worried. I just want to share with them the delight of my nighttime exploits with this joyful little sprite, who keeps asking me to fly with her.
“Why can’t my daughter see monsters under her bed like most kids?” my mom asks my dad.
“Come on out now,” I say. “I’m ready to fly this time!”