Written 20 June, 2020.
This post is hard to write. All around us, as well as beautiful nature, there are spiders, snakes (I only ever see the python but i’m sure the others see me and hide) and rats. Bush rats. Somehow they seem less ratty than street and sewer rats. In fact, GG claims they are loveable and says he could pat them. They have a longer nose and their eyes are wider apart.
They’re so cute, he says of them, the way other people talk about kittens.
All this is to tell about last night. We’d gone to bed early because the days here are very full, about dragging and carrying and weeding and raking -yes, the muddy beach, but I leave areas which the little mud crabs can still call home. They gaze up with their shining eyes and me and my rake and hope.
So, we’d been asleep for 3 hours or so when I began to have weirdly colourful dreams. I was sensing a presence on the far side of the bed away from GG. That’s the only way I can put it into words. A presence. Not breathing.Not twitching. A consciousness. A mind. And a slight brush, a nudge on my arm, the arm on the far side of GG. I began yelling. I was so glad noise came out, for often in nightmares you yell with everything you have, but there’s no sound. That’s one of the worst things about nightmares, that your screams are silent. and no one will come running to help you, There will be no rescue.
My yells were satisfyingly, searingly raucous. I must’ve woken the entire bay. Except no one is here. We are alone in the bay. I did a movement that owed a lot to my tango flexibility, a crab-like, bent-back straight back bent- back lurching-despite being horizontal- towards the safety of the hulk who was GG, at that moment complaining loudly that I’d woken him. i’d woken him! He was lucky that it was just nice me who’d woken him! And as that happened, there came a sickening plop! of a tiny fleshy body on the floorboards. A fleshy body, not boney, lots of cushiony, fatty tissue in that plop.
And then a terrified scampering. The poor thing was as scared as me. but it was on its feet, whereas I had to scamper on my back.
I don’t suppose the plop of a bush rat ok, a rat, is in reality sickening, I suppose if I studied the rat brain like my neuroscience friend does, it’d never occur to me that a rat’s landing on the floor could be sickening, but at that moment, I found it so, for i realised I’d been sharing my delicious, warm, electric-blanketed bed, my home all through the dark hours, with a rat. A cute bush rat, but a rat.
GG today was not at all sympathetic. He kept muttering:
Where could it have got in?
And when he found no hole:
You sure you weren’t dreaming?
The house next door was designed by a famous architect who believes that we should all live in nature; I agree. Except as Dy often says, You can have too much nature. And the house next door, designed by that architect, was lived in for only a few months, and then they’ve decamped for the last 15 years. We need a wall with no holes between us and nature.
Dy delights in pointing out to me that the huge poos in the garden- i had assumed were done by a dog – he saw actually emerge from the python in a long black slither. We all vie for the python’s presence, because it’s the local rat-catcher. The python has been spending a lot of time at our house, and has become very fat.
I can see in Dy’s eyes as he talks, my older brothers. They loved to scare me. I refuse to be scared. Except in bed at night when I’m no longer cool.
Our bedroom tonight is bristling with rat-traps crammed with my favourite cheese, gorgonzola- creamy, rich, blue-veined.
So bush rats, go somewhere else. Between the delicious gorgonzola traps and the already obese python, it’s no good for you at our house. At best, you’ll get the fright of your life. At worst, you’ll die.
You were having a bad dream, groaned GG.