Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Man In The Attic

  The attic in my house is much larger in my children's minds than it is in reality.  It is a place of mystery that has led to wild thoughts and scary stories about who or what might reside there. They say people fear what they do not know and at the top of a set of pull down stairs with creaky hinges and a pronounced instability, lies the great unknown that keeps my children and their friends awake at night, listening for sounds of anything that shouldn't be there.

  A place of unfinished floors, filled with boxes of treasures that were once important, the attic sprawls out in every direction with tiny walkways of plywood leading into the dark spidery corners. The children were never allowed into the attic when they were young, for fear that one wrong step would send them through a thin layer of insulation and straight down to the floor below.  

  Giant stuffed snakes, won at the State Fair, and over sized Teddy Bears who were simply too big to manage, rest at the entrance of the attic and oversee the coming and going into this world of Christmas decorations, discarded luggage and dozens of boxes marked "Do Not Throw Away." While simply a graveyard for things once loved and unfinished craft projects, it is a world of old memories and favorite things.  It is this exact mix of old and familiar, dark and light, known and unknown that crafted the idea in my children's heads that a man lives in our attic.  It didn't help when I shared with them the story about my childhood friend who did have a man living in her attic.  Unknown to her family, a friend of a friend had set up residence in their attic and would come down at night to eat and drink as her family slept.  My own children cringe at the thought of this.

  I cannot explain why boxes frequently move in my attic or why we once found an empty coke and bag of chips up there, but I am certain nobody lives there.  Perhaps the cable installer left his snacks when running line. Maybe it is squirrels who make the faint sounds above our heads at night.  I would believe the toys were coming alive and rearranging the contents of the attic before I believed that a man was living up there.  

  This mystery resident in the space above our heads has grown famous as the tale of his existence has spread from one child to another.  It was not long ago that a man at church asked me about the man living in my attic and I just had to smile.  

  The more I think about it, I grow jealous of the man living rent free surrounded by the good things of my life.  If there is a man in my attic I have a "To Do " list for him that is long overdue.  He needs to bring himself down from there while I'm at work and start on the laundry, pick up the house and do a little yard work.  It would be great if he could start dinner before I get home and then return to rest among the six foot plush snakes and bears that live overhead.  There is a roof leak that I'm certain he should have noticed by now and he could lend a hand with the repairs.

  While my children fear the man in the attic, I welcome the extra help that could come along with such. There is no time in my household for crazy psychopathic attic dwellers and anyone who sets up residence there will certainly be given their fair share of the workload. Next time I pull down those creaky stairs and look upon the big red snake head that stares down from overhead, I hope to find a plumber or electrician hanging out up there, too.  Now that would be real treasure to find!