Asa climbed in my lap with a book for me to read: Blossom Possom, a uniquely Australian twist on Chicken Little. He snuggled down and I began to read.
Fortunately for him, I was newly back from the Read Aloud Nebraska conference and decided to try out my newly acquired voice acting skills. Unfortunately for me, this book has a lot of characters. By the time Toey Joey exclaimed,
“Well zip my mother’s pouch!”
I was already regretting using this particular book as my debut performance.
But by now, all my children had gravitated around me. Even the sounds of my 14 year old shuffling around in the other room stopped. Everyone was listening. There was no turning back.
Then something brushed my back. My instinct was to scream and jump. I don’t know why. It was probably nothing. Maybe it was a little bug. Probably it was me shifting in the chair. Maybe it was a spider. Probably it was nothing. I resisted the urge to spring up, toppling my children every which way.
I resisted, but I’m telling you . . . it wasn’t easy! I pulled my shirt down as far as it would go and went on.
“Peace possom party people, party people.”
Apparently, I cannot do a laid back Echo Gecko. Or maybe it was because I was still not feeling particularly laid back. My mind was not on the story. It was on the “probably nothing” lurking behind me.
The longer it left me alone, the more sure I was of it being probably nothing. Surely it was nothing. We finally got through the book and I found no evidence on me or on the chair of anything amiss. Obviously, it was nothing.
Until after everyone went to bed and I sat alone in the stillness of the room. I picked up the laptop, intending to get some writing done.
Then it happened again.
I set down the laptop and stood up. There was nothing on me. There was nothing on the chair. Was I going crazy? I dared not Google phantom tickling sensations. Google assures me of my imminent death just about any time I ask it about symptoms. On a whim, I picked up the seat cushion.
I am not sure who was more surprised: me or the mouse staring at me. It finally regained its composure and darted down deep into the chair. I finally regained my composure, threw the cushion at the now empty chair and ran screaming through the front room. I jumped. I swatted at my back as if I could somehow erase the fact I had been touched by a mouse. I spun in circles in a vain attempt to make the mouse not have touched me.
“What’s the matter mom?” the girls called up from the basement.
I screamed again.
“A MOUSE! A MOUSE! It crawled up the back of my chair and I felt its whiskers! A MOUSE!”
And they just laughed at me! I think we need a major lesson in empathy, here.
Even a shower didn’t quite remove the horror I felt. It took me three days to sit in a chair with a cushion again. I’m still contemplating just how uncomfortable it would be to get rid of everything stuffed and move solely to hard, wooden chairs where nothing can hide.
Also, my hatred of litterboxes may have just subsided a teency bit.