Week 3: Bane
Word Count 492
The Bane of Moving Day
The memories weave through my head as I confront the dark recesses of the basement. No light is bright enough to ease my nervousness. I’m sure they’re lurking in here, and every shadow flicker alerts my radar. I’m trying to remain calm, relaxed, knowing just my thoughts might attract them, the way cats know who has the allergy.
I sort and clean, carefully inspecting each item before picking it up.
I’m an adolescent at summer camp. Piercing screams penetrate the night as girls’ flashlights catch the nightly visitors on the inside tent walls. Hitting the outside sometimes works to make them disappear out the bottom. Other times it launches them into the nearest open footlocker.
I dump a box onto the floor to give any that might be in there a chance to escape.
I’m in college, and a large one appears out of the bathroom cupboard. I spray it with whatever is closest; window cleaner, I think. The next night I flip down the covers on my bed and turn around; it’s on the blankets I just turned down. I sleep on the sofa.
I re-pack the box and gingerly carry it upstairs. I put on a tight-fitting knit cap and feel safer. Back to the basement.
Walking down the road in Poland, I feel the strand hit my face. I instinctively back up and here it comes out of the tree, straight for what I’m sure it thinks is a lifelong meal. I dance in the middle of the road, flailing and whirling in an attempt to free myself. At that moment a car comes up the road, its occupants no doubt wondering what that American is doing now. I’m caught between maintaining dignity and rising panic; I don’t know where it is.
The next box re-packed and safely upstairs; I’m wishing I had a Tyvek suit.
Huge, gorgeous, black and yellow, each web with the tell-tale zig-zag. They are particularly fond of hanging their art above the ripening black plum tomatoes. I learn to harvest while lying down.
Under the stairs is all the scrap wood I was planning to use for crafts. Nope. It’s now a gift for the next owner.
My 4-year-old is perched on the bathroom sink counter as usual. Upstairs to get pajamas, I hear my husband yell, and my older child calls for me in a panic. I rush downstairs expecting to find my youngest broken and bleeding, but no, one had emerged from a laundry pile and tried to make off with my 7-year-old. I assign my husband the task of finding it, but he is unsuccessful. The next morning, our 5 week-old chicks are cowering in the corner of their cage while it glares at them from the opposite corner. Releasing it outside, it covers half a brick.
Loading the last box of the last load into the van, I’m wondering if any of them are coming with me.