He waits for me at night. When I wake up from a deep sleep and leave my dreams behind to go to the bathroom, I walk a few sleepy steps out of my bed only to find -- to my horror -- a big alligator on the floor, at the entrance to the bathroom. He lays dormant apparently and I slowly recover from the scare, suddenly breathing hard, to step quietly on his head satisfied that he is but a long shadow cast by my vanity chair.
This happens many nights. The shadow startling me many times. The night is full of illusions playing on our nerves. It also plays on my fears, but my worst fear is certainly finding a snake writhing on the floor in the house.
I had to confront that fear once. My husband was away on a trip so I was alone in the house. I came in through the garage, having parked the car outside, looked down the stairs to my left only to find a live snake also looking at me! Suppressing a scream, I looked at the creature with a desperate horror trying to figure out in a jiffy what to do. Only one small flight of stairs separated us and he was facing the laundry room. Perhaps he was as surprised as I was because he was not moving. Just looking at me. Panicked, I suddenly hurried upstairs and thought it out. How was I going to sleep that night when a snake was in the house capable of moving ANYWHERE. He could come to my bedroom, coil around my neck. I was petrified. My heart was beating in fright. I peered from behind the wall, nothing. He was gone! I stopped to think again. After a few minutes, I got a huge roll of wide tape that I use for shipping jewelry and art orders and slowly and quietly descended. Perhaps he came out of the laundry room through the drainage hole made in the floor to let water out in case of flooding. Otherwise, I could not figure how he got in my house. So, I tiptoed to the place where I saw him last and cut a length of tape and stuck it from the bottom of the laundry room door to the carpet, hoping to contain him. I sealed, I hoped, all accesses to the rest of the house. I slowly retreated and wished with all my heart that I guessed right.
My night was spent awake, eyes on my door wondering about and fearing the apparition of the snake coming up one floor to my closed bedroom. I think that the simple idea of a snake spending the night with me in the house was enough to make me shiver in fear.
The next day, I was up at the crack of down and went to look. To my huge surprise, the snake was glued to the tape at the bottom of the door, full length, unmoving and apparently dead. I was too scared to touch it so waited a few days until my husband returned to peal off the dead snake and tape and give me back the use of the laundry. My hero. Although I was sorry to have killed the creature, I was thinking that I did something to face my fear. It was, in a way, an act of daring and it taught me a huge lesson.
Our fears no matter where they come from are not overwhelming and can be handled and confronted. We are a lot more resourceful than we think. Be it alligator or snake, our minds can come up with instant solutions to relieve our worst fears.
Now the hole in the laundry room floor is closed a with a fine metal mesh and I can sleep a full night -- in peace.
Copyright January 22, 2013 Micheline Brierre