On one of our first married visits to my in-laws’ home in a little mountain town called “Privacy-What’s Dat?” my mother-in-law set us up in the guest /sewing/random piles of junk room. She asked us to keep the door open. (Excuse me? Yeah. We didn’t do that. MB laughed and closed the door.) The bed was frou-frouey and small — a double, I think. At home we have a king-sized bed because MB is so tall.
So, our first night there, I’m lying on my six inches of frouf, dozing fitfully because I’m afraid of falling out of the bed. I need to pee, but I’m also afraid of getting up because the bathroom door is just a sliding door and right across from the in-laws’ bedroom and what if they hear it sliding and know I’m peeing? Or worse, what if they hear me peeing? I need a door that closes, all solid and quiet. I have issues, people.
I just lie there, teetering on the mattress, talking myself out of peeing.
Suddenly, there are random scratching noises in the room. Kinda loud. Now, we are in the mountains where night is dark, very dark. Like “I’m sorta afraid how dark it is here” dark. So, great. I’m lying in a room full of childhood dark complete with creepy scratching noises. I’m now wide awake. Like anyone would, I just assume it’s that urban legend dude with the hook hand come to kill me in the deep dark middle of nowhere. My heart is racing. MB is snoring softly beside me dreamily unaware of our imminent, pointy demise.
The scratching continues, even louder now. Hook man is serious about this. That’s it. MB has to save me.
Shove — shove — shove.
“Do you hear that scratching? Do you HEAR it?”
“Yeah.” He turns his head towards me, groaning.
“It’s totally freaking me out. What IS it?”
“Honey …. it’s just the tortoise in the drawer ….” He yawns and rolls away from me. Nothing could possibly be more boring to him.
“The tortoise in the drawer …” he slurs again, a twinge of irritation.
“What are you talking about??”
“It’s the tortoise. He’s hibernating. In the drawer of that dresser.”
Silence as I take in that there is a slow leathery creature trapped in a dresser drawer a few feet away from where I’m trying to sleep and trying not to pee. I am deeply freaked out in a way that hook man could not even begin to touch.
“But …. obviously, he’s not! He’s trapped in there, clawing away for his very life!” For emphasis, I claw the air frantically, much like a tortoise would. In the deep dark nowhere, I am instantly an expert on the needs of tortoises in general.
“Honey …. he’s probably moving around in his sleep …. just leave him alone. Go back to sleep …” He abandons me to my slice of the mattress, falls back asleep instantly.
Finally, much later, I drift restlessly off in the deep dark middle of nowhere to the soothing sounds of a claustrophobic hibernating tortoise clawing away for his very life.
I never did get to pee that night.