On Sunday, I began a pet-sitting gig. I know, I know! But, before you start sending me ‘WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?’ messages, please know I have already been adequately lectured and understand the poor judgment I exercised when making this decision a couple of months ago. When I found out the date of my surgery, I canceled all my pet sit jobs, for obvious reasons, but this one I kept, because my only requirement was to take care of two delightful, low maintenance cats, and this place, in all honesty, is a little slice of heaven. It is nestled in the forest and is very tranquil, and I felt it was a perfect place to spend some time during my recovery. Luckily, the world has mostly stopped spinning, and my antibiotics have worked well enough to allow me to keep up my end of the bargain. In hindsight, and based on the pure shit luck I possess, I should have known better than agree to be somewhere so soon after surgery – sometimes, though, I simply forget who I am. I would have looked like a real jack if I had to cancel just days before their vacation, but thankfully, here I am.
When I arrived on Sunday, I immediately put on my pajama’s, took off my bra and settled on the couch and began watching a movie. A short time later there was a knock at the door. I was too preoccupied with the fact that my boobs were hanging down to my knees to be worried about the reality that I was alone in the woods with an assailant possibly knocking at the door.
A twenty-something kid was standing at the door and introduced himself as the landlord’s son. They have a workshop on the property, and he was there doing some work. He wanted to let me know that if I need anything while staying here, he is just a phone call away. He was super sweet, and as I was standing there talking to him, I thought, what an outstanding young man. But then our conversation took a bit of an unexpected turn.
Him: “I always lock the gate at the bottom of the driveway when I am here and when I leave – some weird people live around here. You just don’t know what they will do so I keep the gate locked to make it harder for them to come up here.”
Me: “Oh. Well, umm. Really?”
Him: “Yeah, when I am up here by myself I get really freaked out and leave. I don’t like being here alone.”
Me to myself: “WHAT THE SHIT? Dude, I am here ALL ALONE.”
Me: “I have the key to the gate, so I will make sure I keep it closed and locked.”
Me to myself: “I. AM. GOING. TO. DIE. Cue the motherfucking banjos!”
Him: “It was really nice meeting you, call me if you need anything.”
Me to myself: “How am I supposed to do that? I WILL BE SUPER DEAD!”
Me: “Okay, thanks! Nice meeting you too.”
After our exchange, I was so exhausted I just didn’t have the energy to stress about my imminent demise. When I looked outside, all I could see were unicorns and rainbows, so I pushed thoughts of ax-wielding murderers to the back of my mind. The only other choice I had was to burn rubber the hell out of there, and that just wasn’t a viable option. It also helped that it was still daylight. A couple of hours later, guided by the light of the evening sun, I crawled into bed and went to sleep.
The next morning, as I drank my coffee, I watched this little beauty wake from her sleep and do two big stretches. If you have never seen a deer have a morning stretch, you need to, like as soon as possible.
The rest of my day consisted of laying in the sun, writing, resting and striving to heal my ailing body. I was completely at peace.
After dinner, I caught sight of the fire pit outside and thought about how fabulous it would be to chill out by the fire. But, the pit is near the edge of the forest, and the thought of sitting out there by myself kind of scared me. The vision of the fire, though, kept playing in my mind and I desperately wanted to have one. Finally, I thought, ‘Fuck it,’ grabbed J.K. Rowling, my friends Ben and Jerry and headed out. And, ten minutes later I was in my happiest of places.
The air was calm, and the smell of the forest and fire combined was like inhaling pure ecstasy, and my heart was singing.
I really reeked like a campfire at this point – it was amazing!
The sun was beginning to fade, but the last bits of colour were projecting vibrantly off the clouds. It was magic.
Sitting there by the fire, as the sun went down, was someone who felt like the luckiest person on earth.
Suddenly every sound from every direction began turning my head. Then I started freaking myself out because of some guy named Arturo. YOU DO NOT WANT TO THINK OF THIS MAN WHEN YOU ARE SITTING OUTSIDE ALONE.
My friend, Paul (https://twovoicesinonetransmission.com), who writes a very thought-provoking and funny blog, is currently writing a Coen-brothers-esque book about a murderer who isn’t human so you can’t kill him, but he can mercilessly kill the shit out of you – and this hellfire heathen kills a whole lot. ‘Where are you, Arturo?’ I asked as I scanned the shadows of the forest. My head then shot towards the driveway when I remembered what I had been told about the so-called neighbourhood weirdos who were most likely closing in on me with pitchforks and a will to kill.
I then promptly shit myself, gathered my things and retreated as quickly as I could back into the house. Don’t worry; I put out the fire (safety first people) even though I was risking my life by doing so. Once inside I closed every blind and curtain and even peeked outside to make sure I hadn’t been surrounded. My imagination had gone wild, and it took a solid ten minutes for me to come back from Terror Town.
Once I finally calmed the hell down, I started laughing. I mean the absurdity of the conversation I had had the previous day coupled with me running for my life from something that may or may not have been in the forest or coming up the driveway was comical, and I felt like an absolute knob. Nothing had changed, I was in the very same place. The deer were sleeping close by and the colours of the day were still there, but merely hidden. Above me were the stars, offering a different kind of beauty than that of the sun, and if I had just taken a moment to look up, I would have noticed. Instead, I ran back in the house like a terrorized spazz.
Anyway, when I crawled into bed last night, my fear was once again gone, and I felt as though I was one step closer to healing – all because of a decision I had made months before. That decision brought me as close to nature as I have been in years, and it was the medicine my body and soul needed.
This bad decision might just be one of the best one’s I have ever made.
Maybe not so stupid after all.
PS…I am sure the neighbours are incredibly lovely people…right?