PHANTOM: The Twilight Zone By Peg Scarano

Word: Phantom
Word Count: 498

The Twilight Zone
By Peg Scarano

When a first newborn arrives home, the life of the young family is forever changed. This fact cannot be fully comprehended until it happens. There are no words to explain it or any mental, physical and emotional preparation program. You just have to live it.

Little Henry Stone arrived home on a sunny afternoon – at a mere two days old. He was the best newborn. He slept through the Super Bowl, the clanging of pots and pans and even the shrill howl of the old, deaf and senile dog who barked at every shadow he saw – or thought he saw. The cradle was sniffed over and over by a wet nose and little Henry did not flinch even as the dog’s, far-from-pleasing breath, whispered sweet nothings in his tiny ear. The cat – well, he was still king of his castle – the sweet bundle in the cradle was just another pesky annoyance to be ignored.

The adults, on the other hand, had specific duties. The new mommy was concentrating on nutrition. The daddy was head of sanitation. Poppy had dog walking and garbage detail while Noni was chief cook, laundry woman, maid and nanny. There is always laundry with a newborn plus there were the new gifts celebrating his arrival that had to be washed before touching his delicate, soft skin.

A month earlier, Noni was responsible for laundering all of Henry’s new clothing. Somehow, somewhere a little sock and mitten disappeared from this earth forever. Noni was determined this would not happen this time as she placed four sets of newborn mittens into the washing machine. With that chore started, she was helping the new parents gather their belongings to take Henry for a check-up. Daddy was frantically looking for his sunglasses, running upstairs and down -twice. After the second trip, Noni casually handed him his sunglasses which were on the kitchen island in plain sight. “This happens,” she calmly explained.

Later, Noni was happily folding the laundry when she realized there were only two pairs of mittens, not four. Poppy went in the laundry room to check the washer and dryer. Nothing. Daddy suggested they might be under the agitator and went to examine it. Nothing. This was getting weird and gnawed at Noni’s tired mind.

Daddy and Noni were the last two upstairs that night as Noni needed a new light bulb for the bedroom. They were kept in the laundry room. Daddy opened the door with Noni at his heels and, lo and behold – the four phantom mittens were on the laundry room floor. They nearly stepped on them! They looked at each other, at the floor and at each other again and Noni eerily thought of Rod Serling – “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind – A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone!” Welcome to parenthood.

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