Just A Mouse

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I visited the Nature Nook today to get crickets for my pet newts. I always love going there, and sometimes I spend hours there. It's a pet store, but it's also a sort of portal.

It lives on a very steep hill, downtown. Outside there's busy streets, concrete pavement with grass and weeds sticking out of the cracks, poverty. Dilapidated old houses with poor black kids running around in sandals. Around the block is the prison, and you can even see the wires on top of the walls from in front of the store.

The store used to be an old Jewish synagogue. There are steps on either side of it leading to the top, and it seems like the store was made out of the basement. On the roof are some fancy pillars and brick, and some writing I can't understand.

I opened the door, and, like always - the little white dog - Angel - lifted his head up and trotted over to me like he couldn't be happier to see me. I kneeled down and pressed his head against my chest and ruffled his fur. Everything is so much better there. They have exotic animals, lizards, hissing cockroaches, snakes, pigeons, turtles, geckos, spiders, chameleons, odd looking rodents. Little fish. There are plants everywhere, and it's a small space, so it gives the impression of a really thick jungle and there's something unique about the whole experience.

If you walk to the back of the store near the register, and go to the left, you get to go out into the yard where they let all the animals chill during the summer. Turtles in huge wooden pens, floating in water, sunning. Huge pigeons that yell at you if you walk past them. Little baby red eared sliders. The cockroaches were out there, too.

Usually I like going there, but the owners are a bit odd. I was outside with one of them today leaning down while sitting on the ground looking at the turtles, when a tiny, tiny little caterpillar started inching it's way bravely across the wood. She was sitting next to me and I commented on it.

"What's that?" I was smiling, it didn't scare me. I like caterpillars and I found the little thing endearing, and it was cute how determined it was to get across.

She lifted her thumb up and pressed it down on the caterpillar, blood and guts squirted out onto the wood - green, red, yellow - and she scraped it off of her thumb. I sat in shock. Completely silent. Hurt.

"I don't know - it was some sort of caterpillar."

I pretended like it didn't bother me. But it did. It really did.

Sometimes I feel like all of my sanctuaries are being taken from me.

1 Comments:

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Kim Klusza said...

I really enjoyed this story. I found myself enganged to see how It was going to end.

 

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