Are Those Your Spooky Little Twins? Or Mine?
By Jacey Eckhart
Hotel hallways scare the crap out of me. Thanks to The Shining, I am still terrified to turn a corner and find those spooky little twins waiting to get me—especially when I am in the middle of a Next Door Project.
In case you haven’t seen the most hackle-raising scene of all time in a while, here is how it goes: Five-year-old Danny spends his days cruising the empty hallways of the deserted and snowbound Overlook Hotel on his tricycle, proactively avoiding his creepy parents, Jack “Here’s Johnny” Nicholson and Shelly “Born Creepy” Duvall.
One day, Danny turns a corner and two spooky twins in blue party dresses appear at the end of the hallway. And stare.
Does Danny turn his bike around and run away? No.
Does he ram the girls like bowling pins? No.
Is it all fight or flight in the Overlook Hotel? No.
Instead, he does what I do in crisis. He freezes, his little hands gripping his handlebars, his little chest heaving, while the girls appear to him dismembered over and over again. Because that’s what spooky little twins do.
I think all of us undergoing a major life change are in that hallway haunted by our own spooky little twins. Film students have spent years theorizing on what those twins symbolize. Danny’s subconscious awareness of impending Doom and Gloom? Mental Illness and Shame? Pain and Death?
All I know is that we each have some evil twins in our hallways that make us freeze and pant and tremble. Something makes us unable to do what we know we need to do next: call the doctor, or send the email, or ask for the interview, or sign up for the class, or call the realtor or the divorce attorney or the cops. We can’t take the next logical step forward because those evil twins have appeared again in all their ruffled glory.
I’m haunted by those girls right now because I’m in the middle of preparing a manuscript for publication. Every time I turn the corner to go work on it, I find those twins. I call them Doubt and Fear.
When I see them, I want to be just like Danny—freeze first, then pedal like crazy in the other direction. Then I have to remind myself that Danny is a little boy in a movie. And I’m a grown woman with things to do.
Right now, I deal with those twins by turning a shoulder to them and averting eye contact. If I don’t see them, they won’t see me, and I write as long as I can until they creep me out. Cuz that is really grown up.
But one of these days I will be so good at the skills of the Next Door hallway that I will bring crayons and make eye contact and invite the demon girls to sit down and color while I write. Because they aren’t going anywhere. And I am.