All Creatures

21 Oct

The last couple of months, my roommates and I have developed a problem with mice. There are mice in our building, and in the 3.5 years I’ve lived in my apartment, I’ve seen them two or three times running into my room and upon finding nothing, leave. However, one of my less-than-tidy roommates had bags of oatmeal and trail mix in our kitchen that a small family of mice decided was their own personal buffet. It took weeks of me and my other roommate telling her to clean her shit up and move her perishables before she finally did.

But mice have excellent memories and have decided that they would like to make my kitchen their home. I’m terrified of my kitchen at this point and eat almost all of my meals out. I hate that I’ve seen mice scurrying around. Even more frustrating is both of my roommates continue to throw leftover food out into our small kitchen garbage where these mice have easy access. I’ve made a strict rule of throwing nothing edible out in any garbage in our apartment, but they have not been good about following this. They’ve bought little glue traps and whatnot, but that makes me even more terrified to go in the kitchen, because I’m afraid I’ll find a squirming little carcass.

One evening last week, I was heading out. I was already running a little late when I walk past my kitchen to hear that familiar rustling. Mouse in the garbage. Frustrated, I clap my hands inciting the creature to scurry. I take the garbage bag out with me, but being in a hurry, I don’t replace it. I figure, my roommates can at least take care of that.

About seven hours later, I return home. Tipsy, if I’m being honest. But instead of hearing that rustling, I hear a stranger sound. I peer into my kitchen to see our green garbage bucket with a small shadow bouncing around inside. I creep over and look in to find a mouse, running up the sides of the bucket, trying to escape. Once it notices me, it freezes and hides its head. My little mouse enemy was trapped.

“Ha!” I say into the bucket. I head to my room thinking to myself, “Let the little thing starve.” A couple of minutes later, I start to think deep thoughts about starvation. It’s a horrible way to die! It’s painful and mentally draining and that neon green bucket must be terrifying. Maybe I can throw it out the window or down the garbage shoot? It’s small enough that the impact of landing might not kill it. But what if it breaks something? And then it has to hobble around in pain? Then it’ll probably starve.

“Dammit Wilson!” I tell myself. “You can’t cohabitate with this mouse!” But there’s something in me that can’t contribute to its death, something about even killing a pesky, disease-carrying rodent that would bother me. I work with animals for a living. I contribute to their health and well-being. Something has grown within my soft heart that won’t let me do it. It’s something that has evolved in me in the work I do. It’s easy to love the cute puppies and the sweet kittens. But, they’re not the only ones I’ve pledged myself to. Give me your ugly, your aggressive, your drooling masses. I have to take care of them all, and I feel a responsibility to do just that, as hard as it often is. As weird as it is to worry this much about the well-being of a rodent.

So still in my high heels, I took the neon green garbage pail in my arms, while the mouse jumped around in panic. I descended the five flights of stairs and walked outside my building. I lowered the bucket and watched the mouse scurry into some bushes. I know it’s foolish. I know it’s weak and crazy. But it’s all I could do at that moment. Before I went back inside, I whispered, “Just please don’t come back.”

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One Response to “All Creatures”

  1. Jason Baker October 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi There, Nice writing. I really appreciate it. Thanks for this nice post.

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