Apparently, I’m terrified of lizards.
Around May or June was an incident when Grandmama and I were rearranging a table against the side of the house on the patio. A green common house gecko was chilling on the side of the house. I almost didn’t see him, because the table has several leafy plants in pots, so whilst he blatantly stood out against the off-red bricking, the plants on the table camouflaged him while we were changing the table so it was horizontal against the side of the house.
I squealed when I saw him.
More recently (Tuesday), I walked into the kitchen with the intention of walking out with a snack, but instead found a pink gecko hanging out on the tiled floor, nearest the side with the oven. I mean, the kitchen is dated with blah-yellow counters, and when you walk in from the garage or dining room, you’ve the fridge and microwave and sink and toaster oven to your right, and the oven and stove and KitchenAid Mixer (my kitchen crush?) to your left. The oven and stove are not on top of each other. I might show pics later.
I whimpered and placed my empty bowl in front of the microwave as quietly as I could. The tiny dinosaur’s beady eyes blinked, and I whimpered again and ran through the dining room and into the hall—straight to Grandmama’s room. I knocked on the door and bounced on my two feet anxiously as I waited patiently for her. “How do you get a lizard out of the kitchen?” I asked. Bugs? Easy. Lizards? They’re tiny dinosaurs with beady eyes and see-through skin, and I don’t do eyes.
“A lizard? How big is it?” she asked.
I’m still focused on the lizard being in the kitchen and trying to imprint in my brain where I saw him so I don’t totally forget, because if I forget, I know it will meet me in my bed while I’m sleeping and remain there until I wake, so its beady eyes can make treacherous contact with my own eyes. But I try to answer anyway, stumbling over my words because I’m not processing anything she’s said, and so finally, I say, “Wait, what?”
“How big is it?” she asks again.
Oh. What a simple question! Why couldn’t I answer that before? He looked big when he was stationed on the floor and up on all fours with his neck stretched out, but physically compared to me? He could probably fit in my hand. “It’s tiny,” I replied. “It could fit in my hand.” I talk a lot with my hands, so I use my left hand to demonstrate my hand, and make my right thumb and index finger into a circle on my left hand to demonstrate the lizard. Then, I start walking again to the kitchen, because I don’t always do talking and walking well. Sometimes, I forget to breathe because I’m too busy trying to articulate what to properly say and/or process the verbal communication. It’s just hard, okay?
Alas, we arrive to the kitchen, and…it’s gone. Out of fear she’s going to give up the mission of getting the lizard out of the kitchen and into the backyard—I mean, I don’t want to kill it…I just want it out of the vicinity that is the house—I started looking for it. She’d mentioned the lizard being gone on the way into the kitchen, so I knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t want to forever be paranoid about a see-through pink lizard, much like the way I was about a potential [small] snake having sneaked into house on the farm because Mimi had seen one outside by the backdoor and hadn’t realised she’d left said door open.
Carefully, I lowered until my bare toes, knees and palms were on the cold tile, and I looked along the left side of the kitchen, along the base. There is about a two-inch-high space between the lower cabinets and the floor, and a flat board two inches back in which he could chill on, because the cabinets stretch out further than the base. A big part of me was hoping I wouldn’t be able to find him, just because I’m that wimpy.
And then I saw him, close to the corner. His tail had black rings around it. Grandmama went to grab a flyswatter, and I asked, “Wait, we’re not going to kill it, right…?” Because I didn’t want it to die just because I was scared of it, I just really didn’t want it in the house. What could the house provide for him, anyway? Nothing (at least that’s what I kept telling myself).
And then, everything happened to suddenly. She moved the flyswatter around under the cabinets, and the lizard ran even closer to the corner. Grandmama said something about getting a plastic cup, and I headed for the ceiling cabinets, but then headed for the cart on the other side of kitchen, next to the backdoor, with the plastic cups. I grabbed two, because these cups were officially my hands.
I’m prepared: I have my new hands positioned in such a way I feel totally confident in putting my body closer to the lower-level cabinets. Grandmama moves the flyswatter gently beneath the counters. All hell breaks lose. Instead of running into one of the cups—not that I totally had a clue as to what to do once I had it in the cup, anyway—the lizard ran out, towards me, in the open of the kitchen floor, and never have I ever scrambled to get to my feet and away from a spot so quickly before.
I squealed so loud the neighbors probz heard.
Grandmama motioned for me to hand her a cup, so I did. Turns out the lizard’s daring little stunt allowed her to stop him under the flyswatter. She tried to capture him with the cup, but…then he ran out again, and my first instinct was to transfer the remaining cup in my left hand to my right hand. My second was to trap him…so I did.
But then Grandmama said something about how I got his tail, and I thought, “Tails grow back; they’re a defense mechan—OMG IS THAT ITS TAIL?!” and I whined, “It’s still moving!” I finally let up from the cup, because she was trying to fix it so he could have his tail back, and my eyes remained on the tail.
I’m officially traumatized—and beyond disgusted—when she accidentally flipped the lizard over and I saw something purple beating quickly on the inside. I assumed it was the heart. Meanwhile, the tail flipped and spiraled about, and I began gagging. And then she moved it beneath the cup, and then it was up to me to carry it outside. I grabbed the cup and held it as far away from my body as I could, then carried it outside to the grass. It was dark, though, and suddenly I realised I had to way of really telling whether the tiny dinosaur was out of the cup or not, so I anxiously asked, “Can I just leave the cup outside? I can’t tell if he’s out,” and she gave me the OK.
I quickly ran back inside and washed my hands. I was shaking. I felt dirty. I told the friend I was chatting with on AIM what happened, tweeted about the catastrophe, and then showered. I was still shaky a few hours after, and I struggled to get to sleep without seeing the tiny beady eyes when I closed my eyes, but I eventually did.
There was a lizard in the kitchen. We got it out. You guys, I don't do lizards. They're cute in photos, but IRL? NO, NO, AND NOPE.
— Liz Lawson (@gotjane) July 27, 2016
So…no longer will I be calling myself a lizard…