When I first saw the tail whip out of site as the little guy scurried under the refrigerator, I’ll admit I was freaked out. Though I didn’t scream or anything – I never yell when I’m afraid. My instinct kicks in and I go as still and quiet as possible. This is how I know that instinct and reason are in entirely two different camps, because if I were being rational, I wouldn’t be afraid of something that is immeasurably smaller than me. If anything, I should be afraid of the diseases that can accompany mice droppings.
Anyway, so I scurried back into my room much like my newfound roommate scurried under the fridge. I had curled into the corner of my floor mattress, convincing myself that said mouse was actually a massive rat (at this point I had only seen the tail), who would find a way to come bite me as I was sleeping and give me a disease that’s some mix of polio and vampirism. Which I guess would be zombiism.
A few hours into the day, and I had almost forgotten about the mouse. He didn’t encroach on my bedroom territory, and I gathered enough food from the kitchen in a mission-impossible style display to last me through dinner. This I was grateful for, not only because I had become afraid of the evil vampire rat, but also because I didn’t know what I would do should we meet face-to-face. At this point, I can kill a cockroach without blinking an eye. But a rodent? No way. I do have some morals. Also, I’m not a big fan of blood.
Just as I was hoping the little guy managed to escape our apartment, I looked over to see not a vampire rat, but a minuscule mouse staring at me. We looked at each other for give or take three seconds before he scampered toward the wall. I hoped he found a way back into the kitchen, but I had no idea how he had breached the walls in the first place, and I couldn’t see where he had gone.
Five minutes later, I got up to go check the kitchen when I looked down at a thick black sweatshirt that has been living its lonely life on the floor since the heat wave started to suffocate me every night. Curled into a tiny, grey ball in the center was the mouse.
My heart melted instantly. My new goal: get Hector (its physically impossible to witness something that cute and not name it) out of the apartment before the roommates get home and try to destroy him.
At first I tried scooping him into a plastic bag. Unfortunately, Hector woke up and looked up at me alarmed, but he didn’t run away. Instead, he nestled himself deeper into the discarded sweater.
Plan B decided, I scooped up the sweatshirt with Hector in it and ran him downstairs. Propping the door to freedom open with my hip, I shook Hector from the fabric. Part of my felt guilty for letting him out into the rain, but his chances are far better out there than in an apartment complex with angry mice-killers. I stood in the entryway, watching Hector as he scampered over the brick, through the bars of the gate, and toward the subway.