Have we talked about my fear of snakes? I'm sure we have but if we have not I can sum it up thusly: snakes; I'm afraid of them. Some of my worst dreams involve being bitten repeatedly by multiple snakes - on my hands and on my feet and on my neck... I'm shuddering. The very thought of the way they undulate makes my heart race and no, STEVE, it doesn't help to tell me that that snake is harmless or it is more afraid of me than I am of it. It should be afraid of me; if I were capable of getting within five feet of it without fainting I would smack its head (spoon-shaped or otherwise) with an umbrella .
[I once saw a House Hunters International in which a couple was planning to move from, I dunno, Somewhere Australia to Somewhere Else Australia and in the opening scene they are shown calling the local snake place to see if the snake removal person had time to pop round and carry off a giant seven hundred footlong snake that was sunning itself on their patio. Steve had to pour cold water over my head to stop my soundless screams and by the time I had recovered enough to watch the rest of the episode I was stunned to learn that the couple's requirements for a new home involved a few bedrooms, some bathrooms, a good kitchen... but not once did they mention that they would prefer fewer patio snakes.
Australians. I love you. But I do not understand you.]
Steve is in Colorado this week
(although... help me out here. I know math is hard, Barbie, but when someone - a spouse, say, or a co-parent - tells you that they want to go on a hiking trip with old friends for a week; how many days would you think that means?
Did you just say twelve?
Yeah, me neither and yet here we are. Or aren't, as the case may be.)
So Steve is gone but his spirit remains, mostly in the form of notes that he has left for me in our shared Entourage calendar. Sweet little nothings that keep popping up to surprise me like, "Clean the Litterboxes, Julia!!!"
(I think all of those exclamation marks are supposed to represent kisses, don't you?)
Monday's love note was brief but underneath the written words was a soul laid bare; the beating heart of a man straining to control the passion which threatened to unseat his reason: "Trash and Recycling MUST be out before 7 a.m."
I fanned my heated cheeks. Then I went into the garage to drag our enormous trash can down to the curb. It smelled gross. I trudged back up to the garage, got the recycling bin, ditto.
As I started back up the driveway my attention was caught by a... a movement on the ground near my feet. I stopped. I stared. I...
HOLY MOTHER OF THE BLESSED IGLOO. IT WAS A SNAKE. ON MY DRIVEWAY! A SNAKE! EIGHT INCHES AWAY FROM ME!
It wriggled its awful body and raised its horrible head and glared at me with its dreadful, dreadful beady, little black eyes.
I gasped and turned and ran to the house. I locked the doors. Then I took a shower. Then I sent an email to Steve telling him exactly what I thought about people who tell other people to do stuff without mentioning the extreme risk of snakes. Eventually I called my mother who said soothing, motherly things and then asked, "Was it a very big snake?"
"Shuh-huh!" I said. "It was huge! It must've been, I don't know, maybe four inches long and about the diameter of a juice box straw!"
She paused and then said, "Four inches?"
"Was it a baby snake?" she asked.
I said, "Yeah, I guess, probably. At first I thought it was an earthworm but then it did that awful S-thing with its body and lifted its Tic-Tac sized brown head and my blood ran cold."
She laughed. I mean my mother laughed (no doubt trying to bolster my courage) and then she said she sympathized because if the snake was that little then perhaps the mommy snake and the daddy snake and all twenty of its little snake siblings were still...
I have yet to regain consciousness.