Lilac and Lime

Contrasts in colour, contrasts in life – Mary Bruce

We All Screamed

[On loan from WikiPaintings]

Pottering around among the herb containers on the verandah last evening, the silence was rent asunder by Kimberley who was showering. Even allowing that the bathroom butts on to the verandah (I know, but sometimes I’m weak), the rent was impressive. A parent never loses the ability to tell the character of a yell and this one suggested I respond at my earliest convenience, like immediately.

Rounding the doorframe, I was met by

The size of my eyeballs slowed the thinking process or I’d have thought to ask which of the two had screamed.

As a child I’d a huge unexplained fear of spiders which I learned to control as time passed. By the time we married I’d progressed to capturing any spiders I found inside in a cotton duster and moving them out to the garden before I did housework. This usually involved Daddy Long Legs and other more easily conquered types. Fortunately I rarely encountered sizeable specimens.

Life events have made me more self-sufficient than I would choose to be but the feeling of empowerment that comes with each new boundary conquered is some consolation.

Hairy eyeball to hairy eyeball with the most recent non-rentpaying tenant tested my resolve. There is a shame-faced conviction that had either our new neighbours moved in or Peter (the existing neighbour) been home, my self-sufficiency would have dropped a percentage or two.

The choices were simple : leave Kimberley showering for forty-eight hours until the neighbours arrived or relocate the whiptail scorpion. Leaving the visitor alone was extremely appealing. We have a gas geyser so it is unlikely that Kimberley would have run out of warm water ; this counted in favour of Option A. What swung Option B into play was partly that I wanted to shower too but mainly that there was no way the lights were going off leaving The Whipper to go wherever he liked under cover of darkness. The fact that my bedroom is closest did influence me, I admit.

We stared at each other. I could tell that inside his head The Whipper was screaming. The echo was in mine. Kimberley didn’t scream inside her head.

After encouraging Kimberley to vacate the shower (I didn’t see her pass but she had been in there when I arrived and she wasn’t in there shortly afterwards), the plan swung into action. To cut an adrenaline-laden account short, I lifted the shower curtain rail out of its socket with the hitchhiker enfolded (stressful because he’d moved to only a few inches from the rail by then) and carried everything up to the garage. It didn’t take much negotiation to get The Whipper running for the safety of anywhere away from us. I will deal with the garage on another occasion.

There is no denying that had he surprised me in the shower instead of Kimberley, his scream would not have been silent.


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