Seeing What to We Want to See

I would always avoid looking into windows as a child, afraid that if I looked out into the dark for long enough a pair of red eyes would start glowing towards me. Something so simple yet always paralyzed me with fear. Even now the fear has stayed. 

It’s the idea of the strange, the un-normal, the unknown, it’s a universal fear. Something so unsettling and yet again so simple. 

The change within the fear of looking out into the dark has shifted over time. Recently it was, what if, as I looked into the dark, I saw a figure standing there, watching me? The thought terrified me, not just because that there would be a person there, but rather their intent of being there. Why would they be watching me? Why would they be out in the open? Why are they so calm and still? Why are they there? Within humans just like any animal, there is always the instinct to hunt. It’s undeniable. 

In my mind that was the extent of my fears. The possibility that there could be someone or something out there. Waiting, looking, and hunting for me. But I’ve been lucky enough to have the reason that there isn’t anyone. Time after time as I catch myself looking out the window stuck with fear, I drag myself away, telling myself there isn’t anything to worry about. And it’s not that I know there isn’t, there never is that guarantee, but it’s that I tell myself there isn’t. Lying can be our mind’s best friend and also its biggest enemy. 

Now, back to the idea of the reflections. This is the tricky part because you see you first, then what’s behind you. Well, really what’s catches your eye first. There is seemingly always something that catches your eye, right out of reach from the peripheral vision. Something always lurking, may it be just a dark spot, a flare of light, or maybe something else. But we’re never quick enough to truly catch it are we? We know it’s there, but never know what it actually is. 

That’s the problem with a lot of things, uncertainty. Nothing is ever guaranteed. We may hope and think something is, but theres always another chance, another possibility. Even if we are so sure that there couldn’t be.

If you ever saw, ‘truly’ saw someone or something lurking in the darkness of your yard, how would you know what it was unless you were face to face with it. Looks can be deceiving, shadows can be deceiving, how do you even know what you really look like unless you are close enough to make-out each detail of your face. 

But then again, no matter what our brain and our eyes trick us.

What makes this the greatest fear, was when I met all of them. To create the picture for you, in my house there is one room that’s exposed the most with windows, the TV room. The back wall is all just a wide screen door twelve or so feet, full exposure to my back yard. No curtains, for some godforsaken reason. A bit in front of the window, my sofa, and opposite is my television. Simple enough to take note of. 

It wasn’t even that late at night, maybe around ten, and I was watching TV.  I don’t keep the lights on when I watch TV at night because it just distracts me from the show. I was bored of watching whatever I was watching and started to flip between channels. Each flip was another beat, and -I don’t know if your TV also does this, but each time you go to the next show, the screen goes black for a second. And the thing with TVs is when they are completely black, they are almost like a mirror. I switched about four shows in until I noticed my reflection in the TV. Each time I made note of all the things behind me. Show, switch, black, show, repeatedly. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it first, I must have blocked out the fear in me for once in my life. I didn’t even realized, the person staring into the window. 

They were so still, they just blended into the background, watching, waiting. The worst was how normal they looked. In scary movies it’s always understandable when the creep or weirdo, looks ‘different’. But it was just someone you would see on the streets, it just didn’t feel right. Even as he looked ‘normal’, he didn’t seem normal, you could see the energy he was radiating, you could see that his intentions weren’t good, that he wanted something, that he had planed for this. 

As soon as I noticed my body tightened, my pattern of switching channels was delayed for a second, but I had to keep going. I knew that if he knew I saw him, it would change things. I kept changing the channels, watching him watch me without actually looking at him. Trying not to look or act suspicious. I was stuck. My phone wasn’t within my reach, I didn’t want to move I didn’t know what would happen if I moved.

What made it worse was the fact that I couldn’t just keep changing channels, I would either have to stop or move -or something. I felt sick. I couldn’t bare to think about turning around. I didn’t know what to do. 

But I just stopped switching channels. And then I sat there for a minute, giving up in a way. I slowly grabbed my phone, and without breaking away from the TV I tried to dial 911. 

And then using every fiber in my body, using the same energy that I use to pull myself away from looking into the dark, I turned to look out the window. I didn’t even get to fully turn around to see the window. 

To realized that he had been standing inside, behind the couch the whole time. 

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