The warm-weather reprieve meant that my furry friends went out to play but the chill of last night sent them running back into the house and I lay in bed listening to the scratching going up the ceiling, the clanking among the leftover pots and pans in the closet under the stairs, a knife in the middle of the kitchen floor, and my half-hearted trolling of Craigslist for new places to live has become a more urgent quest.
I haven't told my landlord yet because I have no idea when or how and hoped to leave the college-kid lifestyle of moving every year behind, but there are the vermin, and the small kitchen, and I can't walk to the next block over at night, and I get a new sex offender registry notice every few weeks in my mailbox which makes me more suspicious of these sketchy men hanging out in the alley that empties out across the street from me and the guy who wanders up the street wearing a t-shirt that says 'The Voices In My Head Don't Like You,' knowing that they probably don't.
I never used to be so skittish, but it's so painfully evident that I live alone in the almost-hood and I pick the streets I walk down depending on who's hanging out on the corner and how often I get hollered at. I wasn't raised with fear of the city, and I'm not really afraid the way others are, but I feel the vulnerability of being female, young, and unaccompanied too keenly here for comfort.
And then last night, I'm trying to plug up the holes in the apartment with steel wool, and stick some in between the window and the cardboard wedged in there and end up disturbing a nest of the critters that have caused me a month of sleepless nights, and I feel the squirming bodies beneath the cardboard as I'm trying to keep them from coming out of the wall and figure out what the hell to do and end up stumbling up to the attic to peel away the insulation and drop green kibbles of poison down into where I know they're swarming, and end up crashing at the neighbor's house. It's the first night in months I've slept like the dead. I need to get out.