I sneak quietly down the carpeted stairs into the basement and open the door to the bathroom. Creak. I freeze for a breath, then carefully close the door. Creak. I wince. I’m trying not to wake my eleven year old who is sleeping in the room next door. It doesn’t work: his tired face peers at me mere moments later.
“Hi, Mom,” he mumbles. “What time is it?”
Late. “Go back to sleep,” I murmur. “It’s just me.”
“I know.” He pauses. “But that door is so creepy.”
“No, creepy. It sounds like a haunted house. We need WD-40.”
“Remind me tomorrow,” I say as I take him back to his bedroom, tuck him back under his sheets and kiss his forehead.
In the morning, I find the tool chest in the corner of the pantry, then sift through hammers and pliers, twine and tape until the distinctive blue bottle appears.
Downstairs, I spray the door hinges and carefully wipe away the excess. When I test the door, it closes noiselessly. I feel the brief shimmer of domestic victory and catch the edge of a thought: armed with her magic elixir, Mom slays nightmares.
If only I could so easily vanquish other problems.
Oh, my love, my sleepless child, I’m not yet ready to tell you how much of our world is held together with duct tape and dental floss, WD-40 and willpower. You’ll know; you’ll know. For tonight, at least, let’s pretend that WD-40 will always keep the monsters away.