There are strange voices in my house. My brain registers this immediately. Men’s voices, of low register but not my husband’s. My heart does not so much thud against the rib cage but wedge itself there. It is pumping wildly while my brain tries to work out why I am hearing these non-husband voices in my home at 4 o’clock in the morning. They do not say words. At least I do not decipher words coming out of them. It is a string of sound carried by imperceptible winches and cranes throughout the hallway and into my eardrums. The meanings are murky. Dangerous simply because I do not understand them.
I am immobilised for what seems like minutes but surely is mere milliseconds before I hear the thing that makes me move without thought. Lars’ voice rings out amidst them. A falsetto, nimble and piercing, summoning me like magnetised current.
I am desperately pulling myself out of that place where waking meets sleep. I am dragging my soggy conscience up from an ocean of dreams and wringing it out upon reality. I am willing myself to be present because I do not know what will greet me once I get to the voices.
“What is going on? What?” I mutter as I round the corner out of my bedroom and into the fringe.
“Ma’am.” Says the police officer. “Don’t be alarmed.” There are three of them plus my 9 year old son huddled in the small landing area of my home’s front doorway. “Your son called 911 tonight.” Lars is microscopic compared to their large uniform clad bodies. He is a tadpole among giants.
“Oh my God what happened?” It sounds so stupid as it passes over my lips and into the moment. Is that all you can say Lindsay? Is that all you can come up with? I am directing the question at Lars. I move towards him, touch his face, his hair, hold him in front of me like a shield to ward off the angst which has set up residence in my chest and abdomen.
“Sophie heard a voice downstairs. We called for you and Dad but when you didn’t come we got scared so I called the cops.” My son is saying. His voice is strong in this moment, he is sure and confident in a way that I’ve never seen in him before. He sees that I am upset. “Mom, we were yelling for you. You didn’t answer. I didn’t know what else to do.” He does not cry. This is strange for Lars. Tears tend to be his first resort in high pressure situations such as finding oneself in tight quarters with three police officers and having to explain the beckoning of their assistance in the wee hours of the morning.
I look at the officer closest to me without acknowledging what Lars has said. “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time.” Embarrassment tears through me. I know the kind of offence it is to make a false 911 call. “I have no idea why I didn’t hear them calling for me. Oh my gosh I’m just so sorry this happened.” I feel as though I should be reprimanded for this situation although I cannot quite put my finger on why.
“Don’t apologise. At least you know your son knows what to do in an emergency.” Says the officer. He smiles and the anxiety, the bombshell of having a sound sleep interjected upon so curtly, begins to sputter away like ice thrown on a bed of coals.
The officers and I go through the usual information that you must go through when having police called to your home under false pretences. Then they tell us to get some sleep and are on their way. They are kind and understanding. They have made us feel at ease in this uneasy situation.
I tuck in Lars and Sophie (who had no qualms retelling the events leading up to the infamous call to our police officer guests, but now is woefully exhausted as I kiss her on the forehead.) I ease through the 911 phone call talk. The same talk I imagine many parent folk have had with their littles. I try not to sound menacing. I tightrope walk between explaining that this number is for emergency only but to always call it if it is indeed an emergency. I don’t know if they fully get it and all I can do is hope they understand the severity of the situation.
They fall asleep quickly as children do. The excitement does not seem to disturb them as it does me and the even rise and fall of their breathing soon twirls up into the air above their beds. I take a good look around the basement where they sleep because I cannot shake free from my mind the “voices” Sophie heard that initiated this debacle. However, my search comes up clear, thank friggen God.
Strong black coffee now drips at flat intervals into the craft and I mull over what has just happened. Sleep will not come to me this early morning. Right now it feels as though sleep will never come to me again. Why didn’t I wake up to their calls for me? Why was I so ashamed over this situation I had no control over? Was it a dream which had awakened Sophie so abruptly? And was it truly so terrifying to warrant a call to the police?
Shadows reach out to me from lamplight crescents across the wall. The moonlight ambience, the stillness of others sleep makes the state of affairs all the more strange and unnerving. I want to pick through the events, dissect them to discover their hidden layers. I want to uproot what has just happened. Lay it out for future clarification.
But now, as I tap the keys of this familiar keyboard I come up blank on all accounts. An obscure film has covered over all logical reasoning and it becomes a “just is” event. Perhaps in the surety of sunrise, light might be shed on the unusual happenings of this early morning wake up call. Until then, it remains as strange as the voices which woke me from my sleep.