When I was Five…

I am a contributor to blogging community where I live. It’s a great bunch of posts by a great bunch of posters. I posted this, there…

When I was five, my dad had decided that we needed to move from Riverside to Ceres (California cities) where my uncle Shawn lived and worked. I don’t recall the reason for it. Maybe my dad had just lost his job again. Maybe he wanted to be around his big brother. I’m not really sure. So we packed up all of our clothes and mementoes and jumped on a Greyhound bus to Ceres to live with my uncle and his wife. The first thing of note in Ceres were the mosquitos. Even more notable were the bites that they left behind. Hundreds of them. So miserable. Ceres was basically a conglomerate of houses, canals and fields…always a bit humid, a bit hot, and a bit smelly.

We were only at my uncle’s house for a short time (a few months) before we moved on to Modesto, but in that time, something happened that I will never forget.

My uncle’s house was a ranch style rambler. Knickknacks, crocheted doilies, embroidered quilts, more than their fair share of macramé plant hangers. It was busy and colorful. Oversized wooden utensils on the wall. Rooster décor. Potpourri. You get the idea. It was homey…

One night I woke up and needed to go to the bathroom in which I needed to travel through the front room to get to. In the center of the room there was a brown box that was tipped on its side. The box was probably about two foot by two foot by two foot, with its opening facing me. Even though the front room seemed to be lit well enough, I could not see in the box. It was all but black. As I approached the box, I thought that I could hear breathing coming from the box. Nothing too drastic. Just a slight wheezing breathing. To think back it reminds me of my cat Kipper in how he breathes; a little labored, a little airy.

As I drew closer to the box, the breathing somewhat slowed down in accordance to my proximity. As I stood about four feet away, the breathing stopped. From the depths of the box, came a crackly, whispering, high pitched voice with the question “What’s yoourr naaaammee?”

I froze. I froze in a way that felt like my feet were set in two concrete blocks. My body slightly wavered slightly side to side, ever set at the ground with my feet being so heavy. My breathing stopped momentarily. My eyesight converged into a tunnel vision with the peripherals being closed out by the silence in the house that became more of a void a non-existent white noise. Thinking back on it all, this must have been some sort of visceral instinctive mode for survival. A way to cope with something so overwhelming that the only way to cope was to shut down. But curiosity got the best of me. I slowly bent over as I took a deep breath and looked into the depths of the darkness. There out of this box glowed two golden eyes. Very similar to a Jawa’s eyes. Jawas – Those short little brown cloaked beings on Star Wars. Nothing but darkness for a face and two large gold gem-like eyes. These were the same eyes.

All I could do was stare in frightened wonderment. With my mouth slightly opened, bent over, I was rattled out of my trance with “What IS youurr nammee?”

My voice kicked out “Jer-eremiah-h.”

With a long pause and an inquisitive inflection the creature said “What is your purpose?” The words slithered out from the abnormally large mouth that had teeth that seemed to almost glow when exposed.

The unknown being drew a wheeze in.

Overwhelming silence

And then a wheeze out.

The kind of silence that becomes an intrusive ringing when you push on your ears with great pressure.

Wheeze in.


Wheeze out.

The silence that is too much to let alone. The kind of silence where bad things happen if not interrupted with something; with anything. “I am living here with my family-My people.” I stammered, not really understanding the question at the time. But saying anything to cut the air…

What is the purpose of anything, let alone a five year old child? To exist?

Wheezing sigh…

“I seeee…”

There was a slight disappointment in the sigh. Maybe the creature was looking a more noble purpose in me being there. I have no idea. There was just a tiredness that translated into unfulfilled expectations. A few moments passed as the darkness sat in contemplation.

And then with a resolute crackling “You will have safe passage here.”

The eyes receded into the darkness of the box. The labored breathing dissipated. And there I was; standing there in stupor of an event that would not be fully realized for years decades later.

This entity could have been a demon or a low level energy or whatever label that one would decide to place upon it. I am not sure. When I think back on it, and the feeling that I get is that it was an old life force that traveled on the fringes of morality and pain for its own need of being needed by others for so long. And this thing decided to spare me from the tragedy that it had caused so often in my father’s family of generations past. This thing with the Jawa golden gem eyes…With the Cheshire Cat smile. With this Gollum-esque voice decided to leave me out of the equation.

You can dismiss this as a vivid dream or hallucination as I have done so many times over the past thirty five years. But I have had real experiences that countless other people have been a part of, that pale in comparison to the imprint that this memory still has on me. Just thinking about it, make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. My stomach get a little queasy. Sends shivers through my extremities and my head… And when I see things like a Jawa on the television or in print, or big smiles, or when I hear distressed voices or wheezing breathing, I think of that time. I cannot not think of that experience.


  1. Wow. I never knew this. The reason we moved cause had no where to ho. I felt it was time his family helped us instead of asking grama for help all the time.

  2. Wow. I never knew this. The reason we moved cause had no where to ho. I felt it was time his family helped us instead of asking grama for help all the time.

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