I walked in on something happening in my own bathroom the other night. And I remind you that I live alone (save for a stunning tuxedo feline named Silas). A cockroach big enough to block traffic on West End Ave was hiding under the slats of my wooden bathmat. In fact, I would not have seen it, had I not accidentally moved the wooden mat and seen a telltale antennae and a suspicious scurrying.
What. Was. That.
So I tried moving it again, my heart drawn up into a tight fist in my throat. It deftly anticipated the shifting of the slats and stayed hidden. Almost. I faked left and shifted the mat right.
That’s when I realized there were two of them. Two. Commiserating together. I could have lifted the mat, but knew such sudden exposure would send them scurrying and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then one made a break for the door and the situation escalated, regrettably. He forced my hand. Or, rather, my shoe. I smashed and flushed it, feeling horrible about all of it. Meanwhile, the other dashed a short distance to the safety of a cabinet which I could have moved, but dared not.
We were in a stand off.
This one was bigger and, I imagined, wiser. And the very thought of grabbing it even with wads of tissue, was paralyzing. I would not–would not–be able to stomach the feel of all those legs moving in my hand. We both stood, stock still, feeling the other’s unwanted presence and dread.
But rather than pursue an unsettling face off OR fill my home with toxic fumes, I called a truce. I communicated to the beast through mental telepathy, which I’m sure all roaches possess, and said, “You and I can coexist, provided you never EVER show your face again. I won’t sneak up on you. You don’t sneak up on me. Go in peace.”
He must have agreed to the terms, because I never saw him again. Though for a few days Silas seemed to take a pointed interest in the small, shaded space below the cabinet. Whenever I came in there to do my business, I issued a mental forewarning and a prayer, to please, please stay hidden. It wasn’t until much later that I found the courage, while cleaning, to move it. And he was gone.