“That should be everything, Ma'am.” The sweaty moving man handed me a clipboard, wiping his brow. “Thanks. You guys did a great job.” And I'm not old enough to be called Ma'am, I mentally added. I signed the paper on the gritty clipboard that had seen better days and handed it back to him. He took it and motioned to the rest of the movers to get into the now empty moving truck. I watched them drive off and turned around to face my new house with satisfaction. It took some time, but I finally owned my own home. It was a simple two story home painted powder blue. A fixer upper, for sure, but I was happy to take on the challenge.
The sun was setting on the hot July day as I headed inside for a night full of unpacking. Piles of boxes filled every room and I groaned. This had to be my least favorite part. Oddly enough I enjoyed packing. It was cleansing to go through everything and throw out anything you no longer needed. Unpacking seemed like it took eight times longer. Shrugging my shoulders, I opened a bottle of wine and put on my favorite station. Might as well make it enjoyable as possible!
Four hours and most of a bottle of wine later, I found myself on the second floor in my bedroom attempting to find the necessities I would need to get ready for bed.
“I just need ONE set of pajamas....” I grumbled as a I pawed through the bags of clothes that were tossed around the room. Maybe the movers didn't do such a great job. Finally I found a comfortable pair of shorts and a tank top that I could at least use for pajamas. I quickly dressed and caught sight of myself in a full length mirror that had been leaned against the bedroom wall. Cringing, I quickly decided that I was quite a mess after moving all day. My long black hair was tied into a messy bun at the nape of my neck and stray hairs fell out into my face. The wrinkly pajamas were ill fitting to my short and petite frame. The reflection shrugged. There was nobody here to impress. I'd just catch a shower in the morning.
I unearthed my bed which was currently just a bare mattress on the ground and hastily tossed a sheet on it. Kicking bags of clothes, I made my way over towards the closet. I wanted to see at least a little bit of the floor before I fell asleep and my arms were too tired to pick up one more thing. Opening the door, I playfully kicked the first bag into the darkness of the closet. I took a step back to shove another bag into the doorway.....but.....wait?
Taking another look, I noticed I couldn't see where the first bag had gone. The closet couldn't be that deep, could it? At second glance, it wasn't quite as dark as I thought it had been. I tentatively stepped closer to the door and poked my head through.
Things were very confusing.
It didn't have the feel of a closed space. Quite the opposite. The air had a cavernous feel....a breeze? My eyes slowly adjusted from the brightness of my own room. In the darkness I could make out huge dark shapes in the distance. But how? How as this even happening? Seconds slowly passed as I gazed into the space. Slowly I realized I was getting cold. The air was cold in July? Suddenly, a massive shape moved somewhere across the void accompanied by loud rustling noises. I gasped and slammed the door shut. With my back to the wood, I slid down, my knees giving out.
Wine. Definitely too much wine.
Rolling over, I tried to fall back asleep. Insomnia wouldn't leave me alone these days. Sure, I would get brief flickers of rest, but hardly enough to satiate me. My blurry eyes opened a bit as I moved my head on the pillow, trying to get comfortable into my new sleeping position. Slowly they focused. Across the room, a small ray of light shown into my room. Impossible. I propped myself up on my arm, squinting at the pinpoint of light. Suddenly, it disappeared. What was that? Any remnant of sleepiness that I had finally felt instantly left me. Well, I was up now. Sitting all the way up, I turned on my lamp on the small night table next to my modest bed. Enough light filled the room that I could now see everything clearly, including the dollhouse across the room. The floorboard creaked beneath me as I walked over to the intricate little house. I was sure the light had come from this direction, but everything looked the same as it always had. I felt a small pang of sadness. It was the first time I had looked at the dollhouse in a while, and while it might seem weird for a grown man to have one, it had been crafted by a family member and held nostalgic ties. Sighing, I realized maybe I was more sleep deprived than I thought. Lights from an all wooden dollhouse? Get real. I rubbed the back of my head and contemplated how long it might take me to get back to sleep. As I turned, I felt my bare foot rub against something foreign on the floor. Confused, I crouched down and picked up a tiny....black garbage bag? It rolled into the center of my palm as I carried it back to my bed and sat down. Curiously, I pinched the bag between two fingers as I inspected it. No sounds came from it besides the crinkling of the plastic. I screwed up my eyes in concentration as I carefully opened the bag and dumped the contents into my palms. Pieces of fabric? Looking even closer, I realized the tiny scraps of fabric were actually...clothes? The tiniest and most intricate doll clothes. With my pointer finger, I smoothed out a tiny pair of pants on my palm in wonder. Where had these come from? Pinching between two fingers what appeared to be the most miniature sock I had ever seen, I cast a speculative look at the doll house.