by Karen J Mossman
I don’t know exactly when I became afraid of mice. Perhaps it was my mum telling me she heard a mouse trap snap in the night, then lay awake hearing the whoosh- whoosh of it being dragged across the floor.
Or it could have been my sister who kept mice as pets when she was a child. She took them to her bedroom where they escaped and bred. I remember waking in the night, hearing them scuttling around on the floor.
For years we had a cat and never troubled by them. Then one night from the corner of my eye I saw something move on the carpet. There was a mouse, and I instinctively drew up my legs and screamed.
Hubby patiently explained that the mouse was more afraid of me, but then brought home a mousetrap – one he is still keen to point out cost him £15. He laid it in the kitchen and I was more worried about what I would find when it snapped. It gave me nightmares, and eventually I hid it in a drawer.
One day I found mouse droppings on the kitchen work surfaces and saw a small hole under the windowsill. The blighters had pulled the cord of the blind down the hole and somehow trapped it. The string was all chewed. Two blocks of wood and a bottle of cooking oil did the trick until it could be filled in properly. Then I discovered more droppings in the drawer where I keep my vegetables.
One morning after getting my breakfast cereal from the top shelf, I found yet more mouse droppings. I couldn’t believe how it got up there. Did we have an infestation?
Luckily my cereal was in plastic containers, except for the porridge which I pulled out – and out shot a big brown mouse! Horrified, I screamed as it hit the floor and it leapt onto the kitchen counter. Fleeing into the lounge, heart-thumping, goosebumps prickling, tears streamed down my face as my hands shook and I gasped breathlessly. I knew I had a problem, both me and vermin!
Hubby found a small hole at the back of the cupboard and under the cooker where it had escaped. He tried to show me, but I couldn’t go in there again.
Yes, I know it is more scared than me. Yes, I know if I stamp my feet while walking, it’ll hide. Yes, I’m aware it is irrational, but I cannot help it!
Hubby poured my cereal the next day and brought it to me in the lounge and then went to work – leaving me alone with whatever hovered in the shadows. I shut the door and lost my appetite, afraid of what lay behind the door.
Why do I fear it running over my feet? I know it would run the opposite way, but the thought of running (in my house) makes me shiver. Why am I, a grown woman, so irrationally frightened of something so tiny?
More to the point, how am I going to get out of this room?