The next few years in this time frame will take me on a tail spin of life lessons, hurt and life altering situations. I am nineteen years old working as a waitress at the local bar. I knew it was now or never for school. I left it last minute. I applied and one day later my dad and I were off to Lethbridge looking for a place for me to live in. I wouldn’t know until the first day of school (three days later) if I was accepted or not.
We found a basement suit. The people who owned the house and lived upstairs were a retired Hungarian couple. My dad asked if I wanted him to stay overnight and deep down in my heart, I did not want him to leave but I knew if I didn’t send him home, I would not be staying myself. My mom was working in camp and had no idea I was moved out yet. I was now alone and on my own in the world. I was terrified. I left everything I once knew and my security net behind. But I was off to become a Recreation Therapist specialized in Gerontology so I could work with my Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. This kept me strong.
All was calm in my tiny basement suite for a couple months. I was attending classes, making new friends and experiencing college life. I had made a life long friend who was from Japan studying in early childhood development. He and I would visit Humpty’s Restaurant on a regular basis. We would drink endless coffee and study and visit together for hours. One evening we were just about to leave after downing a couple pots of coffee. I had to use the washroom before we left. As I was walking to the washroom door a shorter woman with long black hair in her early thirties approached me. She said “You don’t know who I am, but I know you are dealing with a lot right now.” She told me of personal issues I was dealing with (only my family members knew what I was dealing with). She also mentioned I was ill. I was caught off guard and scared and told my friend we needed to leave now.
The whole conversation was running through my head that night as I was laying in bed. Who was this woman? Why did she come up to me and how did she know these things? Ill? I wasn’t sick (just some back pain and the odd stomach cramp) …. Just then I heard the cold room door open and close in my little kitchen. I sat up quick thinking “What the hell is the landlord doing coming down into my space without knocking!” I then heard the shuffling of feet going down my hallway. I remember seeing an image in my head of a very short round woman with an enormous bust, a colorful knee length knitted skirt (red, yellow and black), and a white blouse with red embroidery on it. I imagined her shuffling down my hallway as I was listening to the foot steps. I then heard her turn around; in my mind I saw her shaking her head like she did not understand. The shuffling then went back to the cold room the door. It opened and closed again. I laid there in bed panicked and too scared to get up to investigate. The only logic in my mind was that no, it was the landlord and she needed something from the cold room! My basement suit door was locked but I did not hear them unlock it.
The next day I made sure to lock my basement suite door as I left for school feeling a little violated of privacy. When I got to the college, I headed to the computer lab to work on an assignment. I was really missing my mom and needed to call her. I told her of my encounter with the woman at Humpty’s the night before and all that she had said. My mom said, “Be careful and stay away from her. She may be a witch, do not let her touch your hair.” (I know my mom sensed the darkness from her. Now not all witches are bad. White light witches are good as they come from love and light but dark witches come from evil and the dark side).
When I got back home at the end of the day, I was running a load of laundry just outside my basement suite door when the landlady came down to invite me upstairs for supper. I politely accepted and then turned to her casually saying, “If you ever need anything from the cold room at anytime just knock and I will let you in whenever you need.” In her heavy Hungarian accent, she said, “Oh no dear. I don’t keep no food in there. We cleaned everything out just for you.” I stood there smiling at her but confused. Either she was lying or I was going nuts. When I finished getting the washer going, I went back into my suite quickly and stopped in front of the cold room door. I just stared at it for endless amount of time. Then I scared myself staring at it (what if it flew open). Finally, I worked up the courage and put my hand on the door knob….my plan was to turn it as fast as I could and throw the door open. Guess what?! The knob wouldn’t turn! It was locked! I stood there not thinking anything, I had no answers.
While eating supper with the Hungarian couple I listened to their stories about their life, their son and their retirement. The conversation then swung around to them wanting me to get a room mate to cover my half of the rent. This was bizarre. Why? My parents were helping me pay my rent and it was paid on time. They then told me they wanted me to get a female room mate. And I was not allowed to get a male room mate, my boyfriend from back home could not come into the house when he visited and I was not allowed to have my male friends visit….Now I understand being old school, but I was a young woman and most of my friends were male.
After supper I politely declined a hot totty and dessert and went down to my space in the house. Too much was running through my mind at this point. The conversation was odd to me, no male friends over? The cold room door was locked, my basement suite was locked, but did they unlock it and come in? I had a huge assignment due and had to focus on getting it done so I pushed my thoughts aside and threw myself into my school work.
Around ten thirty that night I had given up on my assignment and just felt mentally drained so I called my boyfriend back home and chatted for a while. I told him of my odd conversation that night and just trying to make sense of it all. Just then I heard the cold room door open and close again. This time while I had my boyfriend on the phone, I thought I would be brave and went to confront the landlord. The only thing was when I got to the kitchen no one was there. But I was instantly covered in goosebumps from head to toe. In my mind I saw the little round lady staring directly at me and inch from my body. I was petrified. I couldn’t move. My boyfriend was talking in the phone and I heard him say he had to go. I vaguely remember saying goodnight to him. I slowly backed up from the kitchen feeling this woman staring at me, wanting me out of her space and confused as to why I was there. I went into my bedroom, shut the door I sat on the bed holding my phone.
I do not remember falling asleep that night. I woke in the morning still holding the phone. I quickly opened my bedroom door and ran down the hall way avoiding looking at the cold room door. I washed up, changed my clothes and did my hair as fast as I could. I ran back down the hall, grabbed my homework, backpack, keys and purse and flew out of that basement suite as fast as I could. As I got in my car and locked the doors, I felt an instant relief of fear, for it was odd.