The Man in the Window
By Jacob Hatcher
I was laying in bed at my Nana’s house reading an R. L. Stine book. The house was utterly quiet, with my sister and Nana having gone to bed more than an hour before. As I closed out a chapter, I felt my eyes getting heavier, and decided to put the book away, turn the light out, and try to get some sleep.
And that’s when I saw it.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of the silhouette of man peering in my window. In shocked silence I laid there, not wanting to look at him but also not wanting to look away. We stared at one another for what felt like hours, him with his back against the wall peering over his shoulder and me with the blankets pulled up to just under my eyes. It was the most frightening staring contest I’d ever participated in.
I went to my sister’s room, and after an hour of small talk said, “there’s a man in my window.” After she got over the shock of me waiting so long to tell her, we went and woke Nana up. Very calmly, Nana guided us to the room and had me look out the window and describe what I saw. I pointed out the brim of his hat, his slender neck, and his shoulders. He looked to me like the man on those neighborhood watch signs you see on the side of the road.
As I pointed to each part of him, she would say, “But couldn’t his hat brim be the corner of the roof over the stoop leading to the front door? And couldn’t his shoulder be the brick ledge along the wall?” She never said, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the first time she’d had to explain it to a little boy in the middle of the night.
That was the night I learned that sometimes things lurking in the dark aren’t nearly as scary as you think. Sometimes what we think are ghosts are just our imaginations running wild. And sometimes a man in the window isn’t at all.