We were talking. Like sisters do. About silly things like why they call blondes blonde , about Mexican food tasting better in dives, googling the meaning of the word “occlude” and bantering the definitions.. Verizon to Verizon. It’s free, so we kept yacking. Wandered past the “did you know?”s to the “remember when”s and settled on the story of meeting soul mates from behind a shower curtain. I’m not gonna tell you the story because neither he nor he was a soul mate, but it happened nonetheless. It wasn’t until we got around to the “palmetto bug and rats” reminiscing that I started to get the heebie jeebies. Started to feel that familiar “something’s crawling up my leg” phobia.
Skinny is spooked by roaches. With wings. And rightfully so. She was only six when they invaded her space, laced up her legs like fishnet stockings and started giving her nightmares.
I’m haunted by Ben.
David Bowie was spinning for the last go round, the whisk~me~away, the nighty~night, and I prayed I would fall asleep before the needle hit the spot where it stuck forever, carving grooves into Diamond Dogs with it’s diamond tip. I piled into bed, crumpled under the hand-me-down quilts from Mamaw’s house and rolled on my side. My face fell into the down pillow like yesterday, like everyday before this one, and I snuggled in. Buttons pawed at my shoulder. Scratched for her space. I groaned and made room. “Jesus, could somebody cut her nails” I thought….as I hmmmmpppphhhhed and readjusted for her comfort. She pawed again.
I turned in the dark to give her the “settle down or sleep somewhere else” eyes and she glared at me…..beady eyes balanced between a pointy nose ….brillo pad hair glowing in the dark. I flung the covers off, flailing, leaping…..and it hit the wall.
F'n Rat! In my bed!
On my body!
Breathing my breath!
For three weeks, I hauled Mamaws quilt and my first down pillow into the Jack and Jill bathroom and slept in the tub. Convinced I could hear him scurrying across the green and pink tile, crawling up the porcelain. See him in the full length mirror before he rounded the corner. Convinced I would know ....before he got to me.
For thirty five years I’ve known better.
You never see ‘em coming….