Sunday, October 12, 2014
Day 93 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
Fall is settling in and there’s a limited time to get our barbecue on, so we spent some quality family time in the back yard. Hannah caught a lizard, a baby one. It was bright green and hopped around so much she had to pull it off her shirt before it could climb up into her hair. She trapped it in gently cupped palms, peeking in between her fingers.
“Connor I caught a lizard!”
She gave him a peek before quickly closing the hole again. Excited, Connor ran inside and got a clear plastic bowl. They put the little lizard on the ground and the plastic bowl over the top of him. He ran around the inside of the bowl, and hopped up and down. The kids loved it.
Justin asked, “What are you going to name him, Hannah? How about Rango? From the movie?”
Hannah nodded. “Okay.”
Connor said, “Can we keep him?”
“Only if he lives outside,” I said, eyeing the little guy, now clinging to the inside of the bowl.
We left the kids to play with their new friend. Justin turned to me and said, “The ribs are about done. Are you ready to eat?”
I nodded and told the kids to go wash their hands.
Connor ran inside while Hannah carefully turned the bowl over. She stumbled forward when Rango startled her by moving too fast.
The edge of her hand bumped the lizard. It looked like a light tap to me but to that little lizard it was probably the equivalent of having a dinosaur drop a boulder on his head.
Rango went suddenly still.
Very, very still.
“Oh shit,” I muttered.
Hannah retreated behind my chair, afraid to any closer.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. Her eyes were too wide and she was smiling in that wobbly I’m-about-to-cry-but-I’m-trying-to-hide-it kind of way.
“Is he okay?” she asked, not daring to look for herself.
Justin was quiet for a moment, looking at the small, curled, unmoving form of the Rango.
“I’m sure he’s fine Hannah,” he said.
We exchanged a look. We knew how this was going to go.
When Hannah was three her first goldfish died. She was inconsolable. I rocked her for half an hour before she calmed down. We both cried as we rocked. Her because she missed her fish, me because she was crying.
If she killed that lizard she was going to be broken hearted.
Rango was still curled up on the ground, and even from a distance I could see he’d begun to change color.
Connor approached Rango cautiously, bent from the waist to inspect him. “Uh, Hannah, that lizard is turning brown.”
Healthy lizards don’t turn brown, I thought.
And suddenly I couldn’t help it. I started laughing.
And not just a ‘ha-ha, let’s move on’ kind of laugh.
This was one of those crippling belly laughs that strike at the worst time.
Like in the middle of an algebra test.
Or during a wake.
Which, I thought, this kind of was.
Unfortunately, that thought only made it worse.
I swear, I tried to hold it in. I clenched my lips together. Tears spurted from my eyes.
But despite my best efforts it came out in pealing gales that reverberated off the brick sides of the house.
Connor gave me a puzzled look. Then he laughed with me even though he didn’t know what he was laughing at.
“I didn’t mean to!” Hannah said, clenching the hand she’d hit Rango with.
“It’s okay Hannah. He’s just sleepin'”, Justin said, shooting me a look that begged me to stop.
I felt awful for Hannah. I did.
But I couldn’t stop.
Just sleepin’, I thought. Another wave took me and laughed so hard I snorted.
“I think it’s time to eat,” Justin said.
We herded the kids inside, me still wiping my eyes and Hannah casting guilty glances over her shoulder to the still form of the lizard.
After they went inside I walked over to Rango.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but he wasn’t as squished as I thought he’d be.
But still… he was definitely not moving.
I stood over him, gearing myself up to flip him into the grass by his tail, when he picked up his head and looked at me.
I want to say I didn’t scream.
But I’d be lying.
“Hannah come look!” I called into the open back door.
From far inside the house, I heard,“What?” And I knew she was scared to look because it might be bad.
Connor had no such hesitation and was the first to come outside.
Connor saw the lizard with his head up.
“He’s moving?” He sounded as surprised as I was.
Hannah came out the door next.
“See, Hannah,” I said pointing. “He’s okay! Come look!”
Hannah crept up to Rango, expecting the worse. She was overjoyed (and overrelieved) when Rango took a few shambling steps away from us.
Today’s silver lining: Rango lives on.
No matter that he wasn’t using his left front foot very well.
Or that his head wobbled in a way that suggested brain damage.
We chose to see the positive.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!