In 1987 my family and their friends holidayed in Spain. I wasn't the only teenager in the party and for the first few days of the two weeks there was plenty of fun and laughter. Like many teenagers, we didn't seem to have a care in the world and spent the days playing in the sea and the evenings trying to make new friends.
My carefree nature suddenly took a walk in the opposite direction, one afternoon. I sat on the bed in our hotel room with an unfamiliar feeling of sickness and dread. Although it isn't unusual to feel sick when trying to accustom to foreign foods, this felt different. Along with it came a bad feeling... A feeling something wasn't quite right and I didn't know what.
I mentally tracked back to my last couple of days in England. I wondered if I had fallen out with one of my friends and left a bad feeling, but strangely enough I couldn't remember anything I did in the build up to the holiday. My mind had gone blank.
This feeling lasted most of that day. When my sister and our friend invited me out to have one last splash in the sea I declined; doing nothing but sitting on my bed trying to find a reason for this strange sicky feeling. Of course, it passed once the following day broke and I continued to enjoy my holiday as before, even though I tried to make sense of why I had this odd feeling something wasn't quite right back home.
Over a week later, our holiday came to a close. We arrived back home early hours in the morning and the only thing on our minds was getting some sleep. My parents had extended our house and I loved my new bedroom. It wasn't a typical teenage bedroom as I kept it spick and span and was forever rearranging my bedroom furniture. At this point, my bed was positioned against the longest wall.
Upon resting my head on the pillow, I heard a heavy breathing sound, gradually becoming louder. At first I dismissed the noise. It had only been a couple of hours since we'd been on an aeroplane and it was also early hours in the morning. I put it down to my mind playing tricks and thought if I ignored the sound it would go away... But it didn't.
The heavy breathing sound got louder and louder until I finally convinced myself somebody had broken in to our house and was hiding in my fitted wardrobe.
Absolutely terrified I was in immediate danger, I jumped out of bed and ran into my parents' bedroom. I shook my dad awake and asked him to search my bedroom. Wanting to protect his family, my dad didn't hesitate to investigate my claims.
Leaving me in the safety of my mum, my dad burst into my bedroom; he was gone only a minute. From the look upon his face, I knew he hadn't found a burglar in our home, but I was sure he hadn't checked properly and asked him to take one more look.
I accompanied him into my bedroom and watched as he opened my wardrobe and drew my clothes to the sides like curtains. "Check under my bed", I pleaded, but he said he already had. At that point, my dad didn't waste time in showing his annoyance at being awaken by his paranoid daughter with her overactive imagination.
Confused by what could have been making the noise, I once again tried to go asleep. Not a minute had passed by when the heavy breathing sounds came back. I immediately became petrified again, but didn't dare to ask my dad to help me a second time.
I tried to ignore the breathing, even though it sounded as if it was as close as a person standing next to my bed. Completely exhausted, it wasn't long before I fell asleep.
We spent the next morning unpacking our cases. I told my parents the heavy breathing sound came back, but it was obvious no one had broken into our home. In the daylight, things didn't seem nearly as scary.
As I sorted through the gifts I brought back for my friends, there was a knock on our door. My parents answered. With my music playing, I didn't catch what the conversation was about and I didn't even know who the visit was from until after he'd left.
Carrying my used laundry down the stairs, my parents took my sister and I to one side; they had something to tell us.
We sat down and they began to explain the bad news. The knock on the door had been from an old neighbour of ours. He and his ex-wife were once close to my parents and their children were childhood friends of me and my sister. We hadn't seen them for a while after they had moved home, so the incoming news was met with shock.
Their daughter had died of an asthma attack while we were on holiday. She was only 15. Her dad had tried to call before so we could go her funeral, but had been told by another neighbour we were away. The strange thing about it is she had died at exactly the same time and day as I'd experienced a strange sicky sinking feeling in Spain. I wondered if she had somehow connected with me on her passing.
Then I thought of the breathing noises in my bedroom. Could the sound of someone struggling breath have been my friend? I personally think she knew she could communicate with me even though we were in different countries. Whatever the opinion, to think she chose me to visit gives me a little comfort through the tragedy.
One thing's for sure: if, at the time I knew it was her, I wouldn't have been so scared and spoken to her one last time.
I never heard the breathing sound again, but quickly moved my bed from its position. I don't know why, but I felt like it wasn't a good idea to have it against the wall.
Although she never tried to communicate again, I do have a very similar experience to this, which I'll be sharing with you.
Thanks for reading,
From time to time, I visit her grave, but instead of crying I kindly smile at her place of rest, happy we shared a special bond I'll treasure forever.