Sunday, 13 February 2011

We moved from the Big house when I was five, but up until that time I slept in the smallest bedroom, right next to the dark door behind which ran the stairs to the attic. My Mother told me I would regularly wake up during the night, crying that I couldn't breathe, that something was choking me, and funnily enough  I can clearly remember the sense of foreboding I felt when I had to descend the grand staircase when alone. There was a door to a bedroom directly at the top of the stairs, it was my elder sister's room, beyond which was the bathroom I think.  Each time I would reach the spot where I had my back to the rooms, my hand upon the handrail and I'd be overwhelmed by a presage of something black, dark, sinister even, yet I knew I had to descend to get away.  To this day I have a distinct recall of flight. Somehow, some way my childish stepping became fleet, flight even! Yes, in the sense of winged, it felt like a swoop, a glide and I was in the entrance hall at the bottom of the stairs. I can't explain it.

The door to the attic opened outwards on to the landing and then the narrow steps led upwards into the rooms. It's funny I don't remember feeling frightened up there.  There were trunks and old cases full of clothes belonging to my fathers long dead Aunts, the usual trumpery, hats with tattered feathers, broken fans, ancient musty handbags, old shoes.  All Dad's India photographs black and white, sliding about in a small suitcase and all his uniform from the army. It was dark, no window that I remember only a light bulb and the smell of old things and moth-balls and times gone by. There wasn't anything menacing up there,whatever it was, it was only on the staircase and landing.

8 comments:

jennyfreckles said...

Interesting how children are sometimes attuned to things that adults can't sense. Is that you in the photo? What a cutie.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Sure is me! I can remember I was eating ice-cream.Dig those longggg socks! ;))

Splenderosa said...

I think what you felt or sensed was completely real. I also think we don't forget those moments. In the retelling now doesn't it seem like it is happening again?

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

It does Marsha! It's so strange that I remember so clearly. I know it sounds 'batty' but I'm sure somehow I flew down the stairs, lifted up some way, I don't have a memory of step stepping like a four year old does on stairs!

Lynn said...

Eek! Don't you wish you knew the story behind what you were feeling? Wonder what happened on that landing long ago...

(I owe you a response to your MOST lovely email, dear Jane!)

P.S. It is unnerving to see a photo of my feet over there in the margin. HA!

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Its captivating what we remember from childhood. Sometimes so vivid in our memories and others slightly clouded.
Is the photo in your header the big house you refer to?
Have a great week.
Susan x

ruthie said...

Children are certainly far more "aware" than us adults. Sad that we loose our abilities. Lovely photo. x

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I know strange how that happens Ruthie, I suppose we talk to ourselves sensibly and persuade ourselves we dreamt it!