As Quiet as a Mouse
This is the end of the story.
We now know that it was a mouse.
The mouse watched me work. He stood in the doorway, at the mouth of the kitchen, and watched until I felt something staring at me and I turned around. I immediately jumped onto the sofa, shrieking. The mouse stared at me and then slooooowly waddled back behind the refrigerator. Truman stopped chewing a lettuce leaf to stare at me for a bit with an expression of confusion on his little rodent face. Why was I screaming about that rodent when I rub my cheek against this rodent?
Love isn’t rational.
I called Josh several times and told him to come home nooooooooow! NOW! Did you hear me? NOW!
Still standing on the sofa, I managed to reach across the carpeted divide and grab my notebooks. And then I ran out of the house, snatching up a pair of shoes along the way, and put on my boots in the car. And then I drove away from the house, shuddering shuddering shuddering.
Josh came home a few hours later, telling me that it was safe to return home myself. He set up traps in the kitchen while I twitched in the living room, trying to save all the documents I left up on the computer when I ran from the house earlier.
He went to stand in the hallway, and then he whispered, “Melissa. I’m looking at it.”
The mouse wandered out from behind the refrigerator, went to taste the peanut butter treat, and… well… you know the rest of the story.
5 minutes. That’s how long it took to end his life after we set the traps. 5 minutes.
I started wailing when I heard the trap snap closed. Out of exhaustion — I was working on about four hours of sleep that I grabbed between an intense episode of Sherlock and the mouse’s 5:30 am wakeup call in the attic. Out of stress — we’re waiting on a lot of things right now and tension has been high. Out of guilt — I’m not a fan of mice, but I’m also not a fan of being a killer. I sobbed and sobbed while Josh held me.
And then the mouse was gone. Out of the house.
We left out the traps while I went through the afternoon activities, and I finally told the twins about the mouse when we arrived home. I promised to go inside and check the traps. If any had been moved or there was a mouse there, we’d leave and come back once dad was home to deal with it. But if all was still the same, we’d take back our house.
I crept into the house, cursing the fact that I had to be the adult. That no one was there to do this for me. All was quiet, untouched. We went about our evening routine. But I’m not going to lie; I spent the whole evening listening for little mouse friends, an exterminator appointment in hand.
I cleaned out the cupboard. I bleached the kitchen. And I spent a great deal of time trying to convince Truman that I love some rodents. Not all rodents, but definitely him.