It was 4:30 in the morning, and I was sound asleep. But suddenly, I was wakened by a sharp succession of tweets. I quickly ran over in my mind which piece of technology could be yelling at me to pay attention to it. My phone? My lap top?? Nothing I own sounded like that. Then I recognized it as a cricket, a very large cricket, and the sound was coming from my bedroom. I was sure of it.
This is the time when you roll over and tap your husband on the shoulder and say, “Wake up Honey. I hear a noise.”
Then he says, “It’s nothing. Go back to sleep.”
Then you say, “but I think it’s a cricket. You’ve got to get up and get it out of here.”
But there is no husband, so I called my guide dog Dora. She does not sleep with me. She sleeps in the guest room, which she thinks is her room.
“Dora,” I called. “Come. Get up here in bed with me.” She did, but when I put my arm around her, I saw that she was trembling. She was afraid too. She would be no help.
“I guess I’ll have to be the man of the house,” I thought, as I gingerly swung my legs over the bed and touched my bare feet to the floor. Tweet tweet came the noise again. I hesitated. Was it closer now? I stomped across the bedroom floor, hoping to scare it into a crack in the floorboards or into the closet. I couldn’t put my shoes on, because maybe it had jumped into one of them. Stomp stomp stomp I went across to the hallway. Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet the sound was louder now. Was it following me? I stomped into the bathroom, but it didn’t follow me in there. Back into the bedroom I stomped and told Dora we were going outside to pee. She thought that was a grand idea. She did, and then we came back into the house, hoping to hear that it had died or something. But no. Tweet tweet tweet tweet.
As I entered the hallway, I stood still and listened again. The solution to the mystery was slowly taking shape through my foggy brain. Then like the proverbial light bulb coming on, I knew what to do.
I went downstairs and grabbed the little foot stool, brought it upstairs and put it against the wall. Slowly and cautiously, I reached for the smoke detector and grabbed it. I nearly dropped it when it went tweet tweet tweet tweet. I carried it down to the kitchen and set it on the counter. I considered taking a hammer to it, but I remembered how to open the face, and there they were, two little double A batteries, lying side by side so innocently. As I wrestled the first one out of place, the second one gave a weak little tweet. “Yes, your little buddy has left you, and you will soon follow,” I said with just a little menace.” I sighed with relief as I considered how it lay there, like a fallen soldier, its weapons rolling across the counter. Satisfied, I quietly went back to bed, hoping I had indeed done the job. By now, it was 5:00 in the morning. How was I going to get back to sleep after all that commotion, being wakened by the noise, being sure it was a bug in my room, taking Dora out in the dark, discovering the smoke detector, and then killing it? But you know what? I did go back to sleep, because for once in my life, I won.
The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir
Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life
Available at www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland