I’m happy to report that Alex and I still manage to surprise each other. Rather, I still manage to surprise him. It usually goes like this:
Me: “Blah blah Normal Childhood Thing blah blah”
Him: “No. No, that is not normal. That is not normal at all.”
While Alex doesn’t mind hearing the darker stories of my childhood, I’m generally forbidden from discussing any of my (former) pets. It’s a wonder Zola has lasted nine years, because every other creature in my possession met with the most untimely and gruesome of deaths. I won’t ruin your week by recounting these horrors, but suffice it to say the only one who made it out alive was a hermit crab.
Apparently other people’s hermit crabs like to die as soon as they get home from their beach vacation, but mine was a bonafide badass. So badass, in fact, that it was always escaping its cage and living loose in the house. We’d try to recapture him, but wild hearts can’t be broken, and this was the crustacean version of William Wallace.
Also, we were very lazy and maybe a bit deranged.
That didn’t mean we stopped caring about the wayward crab though. My Mom left little dishes of water and vegetables in the house plants and over a series of days they’d get munched away to nothing. Sometimes, when we were watching a movie as a family, we’d hear a diligent scraping and catch sight of a hermit crab scuttling its way across the baseboards.
This hermit crab was an inspiration for my future self, disappearing for months at a time. This made it particularly stressful to do things like move from one city to another, but never fear— he always managed to find a way. I remember my Mom saying he most likely stowed away in one of the couches– which isn’t the least bit terrifying or anything. But the last time we moved it was to a house we’d built in the countryside, and ye olde crab was nowhere to be found. It was a bit sad, and we did our best to say goodbye, but it was like having a funeral with an empty casket.
A couple weeks after we’d settled in we got a call from one of our new neighbors. They lived a quarter mile down our gravel road in a bunker-style house they’d built off the grid.
“Are you missing a hermit crab?”
Apparently one of their twenty children spotted the crab on the side of the road— despite the fact his shell was the same color as the gravel and we were hundreds of miles from an ocean. Against all odds, the crab had broken free of the house and crossed the property until it reached the street like a proper hitchhiker.
According to Alex, none of this is normal. Apparently pets are supposed to live in cages and die of old age and not have any adventures at all. But I prefer to think this was some sort of law of attraction— I was just another little girl pressing her face against the mesh cage of a touristy gift shop, but I managed to choose the most ambitious hermit crab of them all.
Maybe it’s not normal, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.
Do you have any weird memories that you thought were normal at the time? Were any of your pets escape artists? Tell me something weird about your childhood.
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