So much for sliding between the sheets.
My neighbors’ garbage cans line the street.
Gabe is out of town, which means the lady who is easily the champion of Trash Jenga at our house will have to take the trash not only out, but all the way to the curb. In the dark. On our new street. With shady characters skulking about.
I contemplate just not doing it…letting the trash accumulate for one more week. I glance out back at our can and it’s clear. If we miss even one trash day, our new back yard will officially be declared the town dump.
I look wistfully at my bed. My fuzzy bed-mate wags her tail. Sorry to disappoint, my friend.
I glance out the front door again and watch the passers-by for a minute. We live on a main thoroughfare and there’s quite a bit of foot traffic even at 10:30pm on a Monday night. They’re probably all well-intentioned people. Probably. Maybe.
I’m not a person who’s generally afraid of things like being alone but tonight, it’s just me and 2 little kids sleeping upstairs. There’s no one to call if I feel threatened.
Oh, it’s fine, I tell myself. I shake off the scary thoughts, open the gate and struggle to roll the behemoth trashcan down the driveway.
About halfway down, a guy with a backpack strolls into view. I watch him to make sure he keeps moving. He does and I continue towards my destination. I’m relaxed. I’m loose. I’m not scared at all. ACK!!! A moth flutters around my nose and I screech like it’s a bat, swatting at my face and trotting around like a spastic horse.
Once the dreaded bat-moth is scared away, I pull the trashcan towards the end of the long driveway. A lone man on the opposite side of the street looks up and sees me. He quickly crosses a 4-lane street, dodging cars as he does. My stomach seizes up. I drop the trashcan where it is and speed-walk back up the driveway. As I near our gate, I glance back. He is standing at the end of our driveway looking at me. I break into a full run.
Through the gate I sprint, skipping stairs as I fly onto the deck and into the house. I lock the door, heart pounding. The dog and I stand there watching through the glass door. We’re quiet for a minute, her waiting for my cue that something is amiss, me waiting for hers.
After a few minutes, we tiptoe around the house looking out windows and doors, watching for movement in the yard. It’s completely quiet except for the sound of the air conditioner and the soft clickety-clack of doggy toenails on the hardwood floors.
We see nothing.
We start to breathe again, canine and I. We stop the ping-ponging of wide-eyed looks back and forth to each others’ faces for reassurance every few seconds. Eventually we contemplate bed once again, where her calm presence will comfort me in a new way.
I know there’s a strong chance that man meant me no harm whatsoever. I hate judging someone on nothing but an action that could be completely innocent. But my intuition is powerful. I used to ignore it, downplay it, talk over it. Now I listen to it. I heed it. I rarely even ask questions.
Was I in danger last night? Therefore putting my kids in danger? We’ll never know.
But one thing we know for sure. I’m never ever taking the trash out again. It’s clearly much too dangerous.