I won’t blame you at all if on Wednesday you saw my ultimate sacrifice as trivial. You might have thought, just another female afraid of rodents.
But that’s because you don’t know the whole story.
Key music and strange colors as we travel back in time.
I’m single. Twenty three year old. Working at my first job teaching second grade. And I live alone for my first time ever. In the apartment from hell. (Literally)
The freezer still needs to be defrosted. Tiny kitchen. I’m lucky to even have a bathtub.
A mouse decides to move in with me. He’s a daring mouse. He walks across the floor in the middle of the day while I’m correcting papers at my table. Often. I wear snow boots around my apartment. All. The. Time.
And at night, I pile up whatever I can find at the doorway of my kitchen, so he can’t sneak into my bedroom.
One afternoon, I spot him. I call my neighbor. “Jim, I see him!”
Jim comes over with a broom and pokes around; but of course, the mouse is gone. I call Jim many times. Poor guy. But he has a good story to share at work. I’m sure.
I set mousetraps. Jim sets mousetraps. The peanut butter is licked off. I set glue traps to find it halfway across the floor with fur still on it. Jim sets more traps. I find part of a foot in the trap. The mouse chewed his foot off to escape. And don’t you dare feel bad.
Neighbors give me a barn cat. The cat can’t contract its claws. I have to wear thick clothing all the time. He meows all night. He knows I don’t like him. I think he has red eyes.
I am terrified of a mouse with no fear. He stalks me. On purpose. I am only safe in my classroom. I creep around my apartment, my heart thumping.
But through out all the insanity, I indulge in a hot bath. A lot. I’m safe in the tub.
One evening, I start my bath water. I take a nice long soak. I get out, hum a little tune, and slip into my bathrobe. My hair in a towel.
And the mouse slips into the tub. I scream. But in my extreme panic, I know I’ve got it cornered. I don’t want to lose it, so I point the spray nozzle at him, so he can’t crawl out. I get too close and he tries to jump onto the nozzle to escape. I scream again.
I call Jim. Jim takes of the mouse. Except, it’s not a mouse.
It’s a mole.
And he entered my apartment through a tiny hole next to my bathtub. He could have braided my hair while I bathed.
I lived in the apartment from hell three years. And every fall, mice invaded. Now that you understand the backstory, maybe you can appreciate my sacrifice in letting my son have a pet gerbil.
The key to believable sacrifice is in the back story and/or events leading up to the sacrifice.
(And by the way, Jim is now my father in law.)