Two years ago I made friends with a mouse. Several, actually, but like a stage mom picking favorites I cannot discount the unique bond had between one butter-loving miscreant and its loving, yet overly critical, caretaker.
Our relationship was both brief and tumultuous but as solid as the bacon grease over which we bonded. It took me a while to get over the denial that surfaces when one suddenly finds themselves not quite as alone as they'd thought. But after weeks of mysterious stovetop noises and curiously uniform "crumbs" on the counter, my mouse made his presence known one disgustingly cold Midwestern night. A fierce thrashing from within the garbage can greeted my entrance to the kitchen, stopping as suddenly as the sleep leaving my body. I was walking to the bathroom. He was searching for the elusive free lunch. Neither of us got what we wanted.
YES, ok, I KNOW. One does not simply have ONE MOUSE. Nor did I have an actual garbage CAN, but rather a bag placed strategically in the corner so as to avoid due attention, rendering it even more shockingly shake-able by said mouse (or mice). But for my sanity I preferred to think of him as my mouse friend. SINGULAR. And to give my past self more credit than is due, let's pretend that I'm an adult that can buy herself a functional garbage can. With a lid. That prevents mice from entering. END OF CLERICAL PARAGRAPH.
After that night I'd find more messages from my little amigo, in the form of scratch marks in the butter I'd leave on the counter while taking a shower or similar paw tracks in the aforementioned bacon grease. Either way, this dude was a fatass and how could I NOT find kinship in that?
Until one night Fernando really pissed me off. All that rattling around in my thousand-year old oven at 2 AM escalated from mildly endearing to NOT ACCEPTABLE, FERNANDO. I swear to Jesus Christo he was throwing a fucking mousey disco in there.
So at 2 AM in the middle of this penguin booger we call winter, I went out and got some live mouse traps. And I filled them with all the fat-ass peanut-butter and bacon-goodness I could find. And I went to bed feeling wholeheartedly righteous and superior to stupid Fernando. With whom I'd decided to indefinitely sever ties.
And that's when he started talking to me.
I'm not making this up. I'm also not going to pretend that it wasn't possibly a sleep-deprived hallucination. But early that morning, as I was attempting to extend my spiritual and psychic-tentacles out to wee Fernando to say that "hey you know what? It's not you. It's me. Just get in the box and I'll take you somewhere nice where the mice BATHE in bacon," the little fucker actually talked back. And he told me he loved me, and that he totally understood, and that he loved Laura and Katie too.
What the fuck? How does my mouse know Laura and Katie, and that they are the only two other people of whom I've explained his existence that don't get freaked out? That they actually think having a mice infestation is just dandy, that they're adorable little fuzz-balls? That they'd like to welcome him as a friend-in-law and feed him peanut butter on crackers till his legs give out?
I fell asleep eventually. And I actually remembered my brief psychic encounter with Fernando the next morning -- somehow even more vividly than when I left it. And I will swear to this day that regardless of what stage of REM I may have been in at the time, that night was the first time I ever communicated with a species not operating with opposable thumbs.
It is just as crazy as it sounds. But a lot of what we believe but keep to ourselves is just as crazy -- and you know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't care what your beliefs are. But I care that you believe in them. I think we all have the ability to talk to animals, to communicate with our inner organs, to create our own destinies. And I believe something happened that night that I hadn't experienced before. And if it didn't really? If I was just talking to the synapses in my own brain? I don't care much about that either. Because above all I believe that what you hold true is the only thing that matters, and if it makes you happier, then even more so.
So for the sake of my happiness I'll keep talking to mice, thanks. And believing in aliens. And telling myself that the face I see in pictures is not at all what I look like, either.