The Monster under My Bed
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The Monster under My Bed
“Mom, please!” I cried. “All my friends are outside waiting for me.”
“Amanda, I told you not until your room is clean. Now, go get started. The sooner you start the sooner you will finish and can then go outside and play,” replied my mother with a firm voice.
I was a very stubborn five-year-old girl. My friends were outside wanting me to play, but after much begging my mother was still refusing to let me out of the house until my room was clean. The thought of my friends outside playing, and my missing out on the fun was too much for me to bear. I decided to take a shortcut on the cleaning and learned a lesson that even now, almost 20 years later, I still haven’t forgotten.
I could tell from my mother's stern voice that she wasn’t going to budge on this one. I turned around, hunched my shoulders, dropped my head, and walked down the hall to clean my room, pouting the entire way. I turned into the room and saw a huge mess. “This is going to take forever!” I thought as I looked around at the toys, puzzles, books, and clothes strewn about all over. There was no way I could clean all this up and still have time to go play with my friends. “Jeez, Mom doesn’t understand anything. If she would just let me go play, then I would come back and clean it up later,” I thought to myself. “She is no fun at all. When I’m a mom I will never make my kids clean their room,” I vowed to myself. I started cleaning, putting toys in the toy box, books on the shelf, shoes and dress-up clothes in the closet.
“I tagged you, I tagged you,” I could hear my friends yelling from outside. “You’re it! Ha, ha!” I had to get out there. Looking around my still-messy room, I realized my bed had lots of room under it.
How to Cite this Page
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Monster Finish Haven Stern Clothes Cleaning Toys Mess Amanda
I could put my toys under there and then come back and put them up later. “Yes, now I can go play,” I happily thought. “There, Mom, I showed you.” I rushed around the room on my knees and slid everything under the bed. This was such a good idea. Oops, one more thing. I forgot to put up Josephine, my favorite doll. Josephine was a Cabbage Patch doll with blonde pigtails, blue eyes, pink overalls, and the best smile. I had carried her around everywhere for about two years. I put her under the bed last so she would be right up front when I came inside. Then, I told myself not to forget where I had put her.
I ran to the kitchen where my mom was doing dishes and told her I was finished. Then, I jolted outside. Finally, I got to play with my friends. We ran all around the yard, playing tag and hide-and-seek and chasing butterflies. When it was time to go in, I said my good-byes to my friends and went inside. I went to my room and then stopped in my tracks. Josephine wasn’t on the bookshelf. Maybe I had put her in my toy box, but no, she wasn’t there either. I looked all around. “Where could she be?” I wondered. “Oh yes,” I remembered. “I put her under my bed! Silly me.” I pulled up the bedspread and reached underneath the bed. I patted around on the floor, but I didn’t feel her. Frantically, I started pulling things out from under my bed; still, Josephine was nowhere. I remembered specifically telling myself to not forget that I had put her under the bed, but now she wasn’t there.
I ran into the kitchen crying hysterically. “Amanda, calm down,” my mother said, trying to comfort me. “I can’t understand anything you’re saying until you calm down.”
Finally, I caught my breath and between sobs was able to tell her that I couldn’t find Josephine. “Well, where did you have her last?” asked my mother.
I couldn’t tell her that I had put her under the bed with my other toys, so I lied and said, “I don’t know. I had her before I went outside.”
“You probably just left her at Grandma’s house,” she said reassuringly and then, knowing how important Josephine was to me, picked up the phone to call my grandma. I hoped that she was just left behind at Grandma’s, but I knew in my heart she wasn’t. I remembered putting her under my bed along with everything else.
The despair in my mother’s eyes confirmed this when she hung up the phone. “I’m sorry, honey,” my mother said sympathetically. “She says it isn’t there, but that she will look and call if she finds her. Don’t worry; I’m sure that’s where she is. Just play with another doll until we find her, okay?”
“No, it’s not okay,” I thought. “We aren’t going to find her. I put her under the bed with my other toys so I wouldn’t have to clean, and now I have lost her forever!” I went to my room and closed the door. I lay on my bed and hid my head in my pillow and cried. My favorite doll and friend was lost forever-and all because I wanted to go outside.
After several minutes of crying I decided to clean all the toys out from under my bed. Maybe, just maybe, I would find her. So, I started cleaning, vowing that if I would just find her I would never put my toys under my bed again. I pulled the last toy out and put it in its proper place and then looked under the bed to be sure nothing was left. It was empty. Everything had been cleaned out, and I still hadn’t found her. I knew I would never see my beloved doll and best friend again.
We moved about a year later, and Josephine still wasn’t found. My grandmother searched for months but found nothing. My mother called it a mystery, but I knew it wasn’t. There was no mystery; my doll was taken from me to teach me a lesson, a lesson I would never forget. To this day, I never put anything under my bed. I am 24 years old, and I still believe that a monster, a “conscience monster,” ate my doll to teach me a lesson.
I identified with Frank Langella's emotions and experience in his article ''The Monsters in My Head'' (About Men, July 13).
As soon as I read ''step-drag, step-drag,'' I was reminded of my childhood, with my father telling me stories of a scarfaced man with a bad leg . . . step-drag or stomp-creeeeak.
My father's stories tapped into my own vivid imagination about elves living under my bed, monsters lurking along my walls or an imaginary man at my window. Many nights, I too woke up yelling for my father to come to my room and take me to my parents' bed, where it was safe.
Like Mr. Langella's monsters, mine too were replaced over the years. My later monsters included being the last one picked on the gym-class team; being ridiculed by bigger kids on the bus. And, much later, they were such things as moving from my hometown to a faraway city, watching my mother succumb to the ravages of a terminal illness; losing my young sister to an untimely death; struggling to maintain a career and marriage.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only adult kid left with monsters lurking in my head. DIANE STARK PIERCE New York CityContinue reading the main story