Saturday, February 6, 2016

Encounters with Geckos

It is the hour of the morning where everyone starts to stir. I hear pots clattering, the hiss of oil in a hot pan, water splashing, and the girls downstairs singing along with Christian radio. I am in the shower, splashing water on my face, and before I’ve quite woken up I turn for shampoo and grab at a gecko, nearly transluscent, skittering down the shower door.

Blinking from the water and steam, it pauses, in the wrong place, waiting for me to act. I don’t scream, but my heart beats, remembering suddenly its stiff, tailless brother that I found beneath the hummus in the gas station.

I screamed then. It had been late, and unexpected, its flattened body pressed against the refrigerated shelf. The security guard had ambled over, pistol on his hip. He picked it up. He shook it a little in my face laughing at me, with me, whose heart still pounded, before he went to toss it in the bushes outside.

“Was it a cricket?” the cashier asked me – un grillo. I was buying chips and chocolates. It had been a long night.

“No,” I said, though they make similar hiccuping sounds. At night I hear the geckos clicking, and sometimes see them skittering across my ceiling, swift and fluorescent, but I couldn’t remember the word for “lizard” so I said it was a ranita con una cola, a “little frog with a tail”,  before I remembered the dark scab where its tail had been.

Geco, she said, unsurprised, “Yes, they’re always getting in where they don’t belong.”

I opened the shower door a crack and waited. It fled to the cool air outside, leaving me looking at its tiny prints on the door.

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