I remember being afraid of the toilet in the middle of the night.
When I was a little kid, we lived in an old farmhouse out in the country. My bedroom was upstairs, and the ceiling sloped on both sides...in a larger house, it would have been the attic, I guess. My bed was tucked into the narrow place where the ceiling met with the wall. I had to watch how I sat up in the middle of the night, or I'd bonk my head!
The trip to the bathroom in the dark of night is where my fear comes in. Unlike many kids, I wasn't aware of any monsters under my bed or in my closet. My fear was directed towards the toilet. I knew with certainty that if I wasn't back in bed before the toilet stopped flushing, that I would be dragged back and sucked into the vortex. Being close to my bed didn't count...I was sure I could be dragged back down the stairs, through the piano room, through the kitchen and into the bathroom and sucked down the toilet unless I was in my bed with my head under the covers.
So, here's how it would go. I'd relieve myself. I'd put my hand on the lever and assume the "On your marks" position. Then flush, run like my life depended on it, back through the obstacle course of the first floor, up the stairs, and dive into my bed, heart racing.
I never told anyone about this fear. It was mine, and I didn't want to share it. As an adult, I watch this whole memory with amusement, but also with wonder. Almost every night I faced a near-death experience and won! I had set up for myself an almost impossible obstacle, and then would conquer it every time I had to relieve myself. Talk about esteem-building! Is that what our childhood fears are for...so we can practice survival in the face of our fears?
Thanks to Papa Herman for sparking this memory for me.