He was standing in the lounge room. He was pushing against the glass of the wooden framed back doors, fortunately closed and locked. I thought for a moment how strong he was and yet how he could topple over and fall so easily. He appeared to be watching something. Perhaps a kangaroo or wallaby had appeared and was now grazing in the backyard. The floor boards creaked as I walked across from the kitchen.
He heard that. And then he saw me. He waved and pointed to catch my attention. I watched as he listened to the rough floor boards under my tread. When I arrived, he looked up at me. Then he pointed outside. He had not spoken a word. I was used to that. Yet he seemed to understand more than he could say.
He said, “I saw a big yellow man.” I stopped in shock. He had only just learned to speak clearly. And only one or two words at that. Not whole sentences. And now he was seeing things too. As for me, I hadn’t seen or heard anything. But that was about to change.
A few weeks earlier, my wife had claimed she had seen an apparition leave the kitchen broom cupboard. My five year old daughter had agreed she had seen it too. Yet neither could describe it in any detail. I took that as an excuse to discount their story. It could’ve been the wind blowing the cupboard open again. I didn’t believe in such things. And now this.
I looked where he pointed. Through the two doors that led nowhere, I stared into the backyard. I tilted my head to avoid the reflection of the lounge room and the glare of the afternoon sun. I could see one of our water tanks on my right. Then the mix of grass and poorly tilled soil left after the clearing. In the middle of the yard, I could see the thoughtlessly located septic tank. A no-name missile silo. Leading away to the right, I could see the pumpkins that were the sole inhabitants of our first vegetable garden. Then the reed grass, thin wiry scrub and the gum trees that bordered our property.
I looked carefully for what I thought was there. But I couldn’t see a yellow man. Perhaps the sunlight had coloured a tree gold and he had mistaken that for a man. But I couldn’t see that either. Yet my three year old son was insistent. He raised his hands and indicated a height. My intuition wanted to speak with me. I didn’t want to listen.
Instead rational thought intruded. Right now I’m experiencing a significant moment in my son’s development, I thought. He is about to tell his first lie. With that thought in mind, I began composing the normal parental response. Within seconds I would be saying, “It’s nothing: It’s just your imagination.” But unexpectedly I bristled at my own thought. I felt a surge of anger. Why would he lie? Who could have taught him that? How could he lie?
And then my intuition finally arrived. He’s telling you that the man was taller than the trees. After that I began seeing things too…