Before I get into stories from the road, have a little tale from the home front:
A couple years back I moved in with my parents. (Economic pressures, saving up to travel, blah blah blah…) They’re good folks, and we get along well, so it’s worked out better than I ever could have expected.
Fast-forward to last night just before 4 am, when my bedroom door shoots open and the light flicks on as my dad – a Gryffindor if ever I’ve met one – whispers “Ruth. Wake up.” He snaps his fingers once – loudly – to get my sleepy attention as I turn in bed, blinking at the sudden brightness.
“I need you to be awake. Are you listening?”
I sit up, nodding silently as I reach for my glasses.
“The front door of the house is wide open. I’m going to go look around.”
As he heads for the stairs I bolt out of bed and grab my phone in case I need to call 911, turn my light off so no one will see me coming, and begin my own search for intruders. Finding nothing amiss I returned to the top of the stairs by the bedrooms to wait for dad to finish his sweep of the house and yard, at which time he returns with puzzle number two:
“Your mother is missing. I can’t find her anywhere.”
My heart leaps to embed itself somewhere behind my collarbone. Where did she go? Was she sleep-walking? Is she hurt?
And then, just as we’re splitting up to begin another frantic search, a small voice chimes in from the guest room. “In here…” it says, followed by the soft padding of feet across carpet.
“So,” asks that small voice of my very unharmed and very sleepy mother, “what’re we doing out here in the hallway?”
I learned something very important about the three of us last night as we stood there in the hallway, squinting at each other in our pajamas. Namely, that we would be The People Who Die In A Horror Film:
My mother the Ravenclaw, who it turns out had simply not closed the front door all the way, and who had moved to the guest room so her newly onset cough wouldn’t wake dad, would be The Unwitting Victim Who Stumbles Into The Monster’s Lair In The Film’s Tragic Inciting Incident.
My father the Gryffindor would be The One Who Yells “I’ll hold them off! You just run!” Before Going Down In A Blaze Of Glory.
And yours truly? The Gryfflepuff? Well naturally I’d be The Brave But Unarmed Sidekick Who Yells “I’ll try to hold them off!” And Who Should’ve Died But Didn’t, But Everyone Thought She Did So They Gave Up Their Search, And Who Then Actually Died Anyway So Everyone’s Bummed Out During The Credits.
But I mean – at least now I know, right?