...you would like that?...intensely...it would bring us together.
Ooooh. The Exorcist is such a chilling film. I find it fascinating how movies that we see when we are younger stay in our memories as vague yet powerful feelings that arise years later. Our subconscious sees a pattern in everyday life that corresponds to a memory of a movie scene. For me, horror movies tend to leave the most jarring feelings of unease.
To this day, the two movies which scare the bejesus out of me are The Exorcist and Carrie. Mix these with any movie that has a creepy kid, and I am done.
So, you can understand my “concern” when I saw my 6-year-old paddle into the bathroom last night, and abruptly stop in front of the mirror, his shadow casting hauntingly on the floor outside the doorway. I immediately followed him in, and encountered this bewildered being standing there, completely unmoving, lightly breathing, and starkly cutting an image reminiscent of the prom scene in the Carrie, when a young Sissy Spacek is standing in a blood-drenched prom dress, about to unleash death and destruction on an unsuspecting student body.
But instead of blood, my son was covered in so much vomit that he might as well have been Achilles if the River Styx flowed from the gods’ mouths.
And the recipe for my fright was so perfectly balanced: start with a cup of Carrie, stir in some The Exorcist, with little Regan projectile vomiting everywhere, and sprinkle a little Omen. A deliciously frightening scene to come upon in the middle of the night.
So, I immediately dropped to my knees, and asked him what happened, and if he was okay (that is, aside from being covered in the prior evening’s dinner!). My little one opened his mouth, paused, and uttered the words, “I need help cleaning the throw up off my face.” Whew! No guttural swearing in English and Latin. No screaming bloody murder. No calm creepy statements like, “WE’VE decided you have to go.”* I could rest easy.
It made me surprisingly glad that all I had to do was undress him, and remove the vomit from him, the floor, his bed, and a myriad of other places rather than wondering how my son became demon-spawn. I will take copious amounts of puke every time. Wouldn't you?
I was also later disappointed that I did not pause to find my phone and snap a picture of him, you know, for posterity? I think next time I will. Once I move past the whole being frightened-out-of-my-gourd paralysis.
*Of interest, this reference comes from a Rolling Stone interview in which Ozzy Osbourne woke up in the middle of the night, said those exact words, and started strangling his wife Sharon. Talk about some demons.
Fear by Sara Teasdale
I am afraid, oh I am so afraid!
The cold black fear is clutching me to-night
As long ago when they would take the light
And leave the little child who would have prayed,
Frozen and sleepless at the thought of death.
My heart that beats too fast will rest too soon;
I shall not know if it be night or noon, --
Yet shall I struggle in the dark for breath?
Will no one fight the Terror for my sake,
The heavy darkness that no dawn will break?
How can they leave me in that dark alone,
Who loved the joy of light and warmth so much,
And thrilled so with the sense of sound and touch, --
How can they shut me underneath a stone?