When I was living in ...
I can't remember if I was in Brooklyn or Queens.
When I was living in one of the boroughs of NYC I spent an hour one afternoon visiting with an older man.
I can't even remember how I ended up visiting this gentleman.
Maybe we knocked on his door and asked if we could come in.
Maybe he ordered a free Bible off of the TV and asked us to deliver it.
Maybe he found us walking in the street and invited us in for a cool drink.
It's been a long time...the details are a little fuzzy.
What's NOT fuzzy is what happened once we were in his house.
Did I mention the man was fairly old?
Old and probably lonely, because once we were sitting in his living room he talked and talked and talked.
He told us about his wife who had passed away several years before...
He talked about his career...
I'm sure he talked about even more but my mind began to wander.
It was hot and humid, and his house felt sticky.
I could feel the sweat dripping down my back.
I could hear a sound coming from the kitchen and I leaned forward as nonchalantly as I could, to look around the wall to see what the sound was.
Trust me when I tell you that I nearly screamed out loud when I saw from whence the sound came.
(I just wanted to sound like Charles Dickens with that last sentence. Did it work?)
That's what I saw.
And the eyes in that head were looking right back at me.
I took several deep breaths to calm my heart, and told myself that I must be seeing things.
Self, you did not just see a head. It's not possible that you just saw a head. There was no body with that head. The heat must be getting to you. It must really be getting to you.
And while I had this inner dialogue with myself, the man droned on and on.
I leaned forward again to look around the wall.
The head was still there, and the eyes were still focused on me.
I wanted to grab my friend's hand and run screaming from the house.
At that moment the old man excused himself and left the room for a minute.
He walked toward the kitchen.
The minute he was out of sight I whispered frantically to my friend, "We've got to get out of here. There is something crazy going on. We're standing up and we're leaving - right now!"
She thought I had lost my mind and she told me we weren't leaving yet. It would be rude, she said.
Rude? RUDE? The guy has a head in his kitchen, and you don't want to be rude???
To be fair, I had failed to mention the head to my friend...I didn't have enough time before we heard the man walking back towards us.
He sat down and said, "Sorry. I was taking care of my daughter."
"Your daughter?" I asked.
And then the man got emotional.
And he cried for several minutes before he continued.
"My daughter is sick. She has _______."
And there we go again. I can't remember what she had. MS maybe? Muscular dystrophy?
Anyway, she had something.
"None of the regular treatments work and so we're trying something experimental."
"Two times a week we enclose her in a box and fill the box with bees. The bees come from Africa. She spends three or four hours in the box being stung by the bees and it seems to help..."
I looked around the wall again and saw the head, with the eyes looking at me. But this time I also saw the box, and I wanted to cry.
We finally left the house, and I walked on shaky legs the whole way home. AND I had bad dreams for what seemed like forever.
What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?