Frozen with terror, Meredith’s mind instantly ran through the events that had led her to this moment. How had it come to this? Was this really how her life would end? How had nothing in her extensive catalog of experiences prepared her for such a moment? From birth on, Meredith had always been an over-achiever. From her first steps, to her first doctorate degree, she had attacked every challenge with unwavering confidence fueled by some internal need to always be the best. And now? Now she was losing… badly.
Huddled in a ball on the hard bamboo floor, Meredith couldn’t understand why this should be any different. She was a winner, damn it! She could figure this out. After all, she possessed two PhDs, one in clinical psychology and another in computer engineering (among a slew of other various degrees the 33-year-old had managed to accrue) this should be a piece of cake. Then why am I paralyzed with fear and indecision? She chastised herself, doubting her ability to handle any situation for perhaps the first time in her life.
Wondering how other, less educated individuals dealt with this sort of terror on a daily basis, Meredith was struck with a new respect for her fellow man and the hardships they must go through- things she could probably not even imagine. Well, let’s not get too carried away… if I wanted to imagine them I’m sure I could figure out a way to go about it, Meredith thought to herself, her typical assured manner momentarily breaking through the fear. The brief return of her confidence buoyed Meredith almost to the point of action, but then… it moved.
Oh my God!!! If someone doesn’t come help me right now I’m going to waste away in here! Meredith managed to stifle to scream that was building in her throat, pushing it back down as she attempted to focus on a solution to her predicament. Ok Meredith, you’re just going to have to kill it before it kills you. You know what you have to do. Meredith shook her head violently trying to ignore the rational voice in her head. How could she be expected to do something so insane, so terrifying? If only she had her cell phone, this entire thing could have ended hours ago. I’ll just have to sit here and wait until help comes. Someone will surely notice me missing… surely…
Even her inner dialog was losing its confidence. After another hour passed, Meredith knew she would have to take action, she couldn’t stomach the idea of someone finding her body days later curled up in a ball like a pathetic little weakling, lacking the basic presence of mind to survive. Meredith shivered as she contemplated what would they would write on her tombstone-
Here lies Meredith Westin
Beloved daughter and friend,
Sadly it was a common cockroach
That brought her to this end.
She almost laughed at her own morbidity before staring down her advisory once again and slowly rising to her feet.
Quickly, before she lost her nerve again, Meredith lifted her shoe above her head and, with the war cry of an Amazonian warrior ran at the inch-and-a-half insect at full speed. “This ends now!!!” she screamed as she threw her shoe with all her might at the terrifying bug. With a kind of crunch and wet splat, the shoe came to rest where the bug once was. Shocked at the accuracy of her aim, Meredith slowly approached the shoe.
Victory was hers. The cockroach was no longer of this world. Almost not able to believe that it was over, it was finally over, Meredith stood in shock for several seconds before dropping to the floor. Relief, empowerment and a sense of her own mortality flooded her at once and she began to weep.
The cockroach was dead.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: As a fairly accomplished and level-headed adult, why is it that at the very sight of a cockroach I am rendered immediately helpless and a jumbled-up mess of terror, childlike panic and immobilizing disgust? I mean come on, I live in Florida, which is basically a swamp, so bugs of unusually large proportions are not a new reality for me. Despite this fact, I, along with many of my fellow Floridians I’d imagine, am scared out of my wits by even the mention of a cockroach being within a 100 yard radius. Man, they are nasty. I’ve often wondered why so many of us humans are so terrified of these critters and all I can come up with is… they’re just gross. So, when I saw one out of the corner of my eye in the corner of my kitchen ceiling above the back door (and another thing, why do they always have to be just out of reach and in perfect position for a sneak attack from above?) I freaked. I’m not ashamed. It happened. And, after half an hour of trying to pretend it wasn’t really there and avoiding that corner of the house like the plague, I decided I had better take care of it (the boyfriend was conveniently working, the jerk). I think the word “overkill” must have been invented after an encounter with one of these little devils, cause let me tell ya, after I was done with it, it was soaked in about 10 different cleaners & repellents, attacked by my killer dachshund and then promptly beheaded, and squashed with one of my Chuck’s with such force that it no longer resembled a solid. Mission accomplished.
Love & Squirrels.