When we first moved in it may as well have been a 3,000 square foot brick colonial. It was my first real, independent address. I got to help pick out the (mostly used) furnishings. I had say in what happened there. Even though my name wasn't on the title (The Ex was the official owner) it was still my first real home. I didn't answer to my parents and I didn't sleep on a hide-a-bed in the living room. I was the lady of the house.
By the time we moved out I was painfully aware that it was a 980 square foot tin can sporting a leaky roof, soft floors, an electrical system that didn't allow me to blow dry my hair and make coffee at the same time, floor to ceiling faux-wood paneling and windows which leaked rain, wind and - worst of all - spiders.
My worst memory of the trailer involves one of many, many encounters with spiders. Thousands (it seemed) of baby spiders who had the misfortune of being discovered by me, shortly after birth, in the crease of one of my flouncy country-style bedroom curtains. I pulled the curtain back to turn on the window air conditioner and from there it's a blur of screaming and crying with The Ex trying to kill the little monsters that were being blown out of the curtain by the air conditioner, landing on and around our bed.
But that is the worst memory of our five years there. We were happy. We were kids. Working and living free, enjoying life without much in the way of possessions or responsibilities.
Because of the almost entirely positive memories I have of life in the trailer, it has always seemed odd that I have recurring nightmares which take place there. Starting shortly after my divorce, the trailer has been the backdrop for a nightmare at least once a month, often several times a week. These are not boogie-man nightmares. Nobody is chasing me with Kreuger-esque blade fingers or forcing me to incorrectly use "they're" where "there" would be appropriate. Nobody has dismembered a loved one or swapped my coffee for decaf. The nightmare is just that I live there. I have sold my 1700 square foot colonial on 1.67 acres and re-purchased the 14 x 70 mobile home on lot 149. Sometimes I'm trying to convince myself that I can put to good use the thousands of hours I've spent watching HGTV and transform it into a cozy, beautiful space. Sometimes I am asking myself what the hell I was thinking. Sometimes The Ex is living there with me and I am dreading having to tell him, once again, that I don't want to grow old with him. Sometimes I'm even having an internal dialogue wondering how I could be stupid enough to put myself back into this situation after I've had so many regretful dreams about it. Sometimes I'm telling myself over and over again to wake up.
Almost always there are spiders.
These dreams have been so consistent and vexing that at one point when a "Dream Analysis Expert" was on a local radio show I called in. I was put on the air and described my dream and she said that I have a fear that I will make a poor decision and lose everything for which I have worked so hard.
Seems legit. The dreams started shortly after I began making decisions for myself. And there have been many MANY times in the last eight years when I have been sure there must be someone more qualified to plot the course of my life.
Knowing the source of these dreams has not stopped them from plaguing my sleep on far too frequent occasion, but I do now recognize that they crop up more often during times of indecision.
All six of you, my loyal readers, are probably aware that less than a year ago I had a cast on my right foot, wheeling around on a knee walker, home-bound except for the kindness of friends who got me out of the house on a blessedly regular basis. I had a broken fifth metatarsal (teeny tiny bone) in my right foot which, in spite of a full year of hoping, praying, resting, icing, elevating and bracing, had failed to heal on its own. So I had to have a screw put in. I had to work from home for a month, walk in a boot for I don't even remember how long. I had to have special insoles put in my shoes and even almost a year later I still had to wear sneakers 99% of the time.
Last Sunday morning I had a day of cleaning and shopping planned. I had a cookout scheduled for the next day, Labor Day, with about 15 people coming over. All was well in my little corner of the world. Life was good.
I started the day as I had each morning for the prior couple of weeks, walking Happy, my little foster dog, while my dogs ran free within the confines of our Invisible Fence. In broad daylight, at 9-something in the morning, I stepped down off the deck step, right foot first, and landed half on and half off a stepping stone. Before my left foot could come down to catch me, I went down and snapped the two main bones in my ankle. If you've seen the hobbling scene in the movie Misery, you have a good mental image of what greeted me when I pulled my right foot out from under me.
Ever delusional in the level of my badassedness, I convinced myself that I could just brace myself for the pain, cowgirl up and do a sort of backwards crab walk, back up the deck steps and into the kitchen where I could only hope my phone would be waiting so I could call 911. Less than a half crab step convinced me otherwise, as my right foot dangled unnaturally beneath my raised leg, and my left ankle (sprained and bruised but blessedly unbroken) screamed "Fuck you lady" at the attempt.
Darkness crept in to my peripheral vision. Consciousness threatened to fade. I screamed for the neighbors. And they came running, thank God.
I got my first ambulance ride. And I spent the better part of three days and two nights hospitalized while I waited for and recovered from surgery.
I'm home now. My trusty knee walker by my side. No cast this time, at least not yet. But my right foot is elevated and bandaged up to the knee and I am once again forbidden from weight bearing activity or driving. Working from home and relying in the kindness of others for every convenience or company.
Guys, this sucks. And as many times as I try to convince myself that I'm dreaming, that I couldn't be repeating this experience again not even a year later, I can't wake up.
But I'm trying to look on the bright side. At least there are no spiders.