I realized that I haven't lived in the same city as one of my best friends (I've got several, get over it, get with it, get on it, it makes life so much more enjoyable) for at least two years now. I've had awesome support, in a network branching states and oceans, but I've been missing the closeness of that friend who you can be absolutely yourself around. No pretense, no artifice, they know your lying voice - you can hang out on the side of the road laughing hysterically because the snow cones you just bought from the food truck are getting all over your limbs. I have been missing the every day, the grocery shopping together, the impromptu pizza on the living room floor.
So, this summer, I moved. And the place I moved to contained one of my best friends ever, the iridescent and joyful Anne (fun fact: her name was almost Ariadne. How wicked cool). This past week I've been staying with her at her home, because her husband was out of town on business (it makes me feel really adult to say that even though it's not actually about me). I've been so enjoying soaking up bestfriendtimes. It's been laughter and good food and a double-cream blueberry pie and just generally the things that restore you.
And then last night happened.
Let me set the scene for you. Anne's house is sort of out in the country - on a dirt road, set on an acre, and many critters abound in the long grasses. There's no street lamps or sidewalks. I didn't have work that day, so I'd been home alone watching episodes of Luther (a most excellent, yet creepy, British crime drama) and was sufficiently creeping myself out by remembering the sneaky killer criminal character and his devious ways. I kept saying, "Oh, I won't tell you what he did, but oh man it was so creepy scary, Anne!" as we got ready for bed. Anne did her best to ignore me, as one often should, and opened the windows to let the cool night air in. I expressed that it was maybe not good to leave the windows, most of which have no screens, open - because, you know, creepy scary killer characters.
But that was silly. Right? We're adults. We can sleep with the windows part-way opened.
So off Anne went to bed, an hour or so before me. She had to get up early for work. I was drifting off to sleep in the dim spare room, and then - and THEN -
I see something. Coming towards me.
It's fat, and thick, and crawling on the wall. It's not a killer character. But I'm pretty sure that it's got to be the biggest fattest spider ever inside a house, and I am TERRIFIED of spiders. I've been physically terrified of them my entire life. They make me cry. And sometimes vomit. So there's something, in the dark, creeping towards me, and just as I'm reaching out to turn on the light -
IT LEAPS OFF THE WALL.
My body jolts upright and slams into the wall. Someone is screaming. Oh, is it me? The thing on my face is sticky and moist, and oh god, that is me screaming. The attacker leaps off my face and onto my blanket, and as it flies off the foot of my bed I realize that it is not a spider. It only has four legs. Is there a spider with half the legs?
No. The fat body flying off of my feet, landing onto the carpet, coincidentally blending in perfectly with the tan coloring, is not a spider.
It is a frog.
A treefrog, to be precise. And it starts climbing back up the wall, towards me, and leaping back onto me and off of me and I'm screaming bloody murder, thwacking against the wall, jumping off the bed, and I grasp a decorative glass bowl and FLING IT - landing over the body of the intruder.
I flee the room, towards the hall - it is 1am. I hear my dear best friend tremulously calling, "Becca....Becca....Becca? BECCA?!?" I burst through her doorway, silhouetted from behind, and bellow in a voice hoarse from screaming:
Now, think of this from Anne's perspective. I bid her goodnight talking about serial killers creeping in through open windows. She wakes from sleep to a sound of repeated thumping from my room. It sounds like a body being slammed against a wall (because it was). In her sleep-addled mind, there is someone in my room strangling me to death, and she's next. Then, she hears me scream, and her thought is, She's still alive! I can't let her die like this - she's been through too much to go out this way! But then she doesn't know how she can save me from the serial killer, so she's reaching for her phone to dial 911 when I come bursting through her door - and then she thinks,
"Oh no, she's coming to me and bringing the serial killer with her! We're both gonna die!"
She sees me stumble against the door frame, body seized up in terror. At this point, she is so panicked that she, too, has broken out into a full-body sweat and is trembling head to foot. And then I open my mouth and start to yell a warning.
The lights are flipped on. I'm gasping and clinging to her doorframe, blabbering on, "A..frog..it's..frog..in..my...bed...can't breathe...oh my god...FROG...ohmygodFROGFROGFROG!"
Anne ascertains that the likelihood of a visiting serial killer telling me his name is Frog is slim to none, and slowly begins to get pertinent details out of me. "It's..what, wait, what? A frog? There's a FROG in your room?"
I jerk across the room, my shoulders seized up in an approximation of rigor mortis, my teeth chattering, and my entire body trembling. "FR-OG!" is all I can get out. "FR-OG!"
Anne leaves to investigate. I'm calling instructions across the hall. "I got it! Under the bowl! FROG! It's camouflaged! To the carpet!" (See, even in crisis, I'm so helpful.) I curl up under blankets in her bed and shake and chatter and gasp, like I'm hyperventilating. I'm so physically terrified, like I have never before been in my life. And I've been shot at. With guns.
"What are those sounds - are you choking? Are you crying?" Anne is concerned.
"IT. WAS ON. MY FACE."
Sounds scurrying from the spare room - "Ooh, this thing's fast!" and then, suddenly, the all clear is called. She opened the back door, and the infernal creature simply hopped out into the night.
Anne returns to me shaking and crying on her bed. "...I thought you were DYING! I was so SCARED!"
I leave, gasping, wailing, "Sorry - I'm - it was on my FACE!!"
And that's why, really, I'm the best friend you could ask for. I will awaken you in the middle of the night with an elaborate soundscape to convince you I am being brutally murdered. I don't know why you wouldn't want that in a best friend.
This is the story of how I have now become deathly terrified of frogs.