I was a strange little girl, and now I’m a strange woman. When I was little I did things to amuse myself whenever I could. As an only child I had a wealth of imagination that seemed to go on and on. I had a dog, a beagle, that was my best friend. I would have to walk my dog for 30 minutes a day. This seemed like a very long time to me, as a child. Now it goes by in a flash. Then I would hate walking very far and I was lucky enough to have an empty lot at the end of the block that my dog and I would explore. I found wild raspberries and mulberries on one such adventure, and would wander around trying not to get lost in the trees.
Once I found a squirrel that had recently been hit by a car. It was dead, but was either fresh enough that it was flexible, or old enough that it was flexible. At any rate, it didn’t smell bad yet and was soft and furry with no sign of violence. I kept it for a couple of days hidden in the empty lot, but eventually it became rather …uh…stinky… and became host to all those lovely critters Grissom is so fond of on CSI.
When we moved to a larger town I was blessed to find another empty lot not too far from our home. It wasn’t quite as secluded and had only one good-sized tree in the middle. I found it to be a good climbing tree and enjoyed viewing my neighborhood from its leafy branches. It was a month or so later and it became winter and I’d found some cardboard left on the lot. I managed to sneak some matches out of the house (my parents had a huge jar where they collected matchbooks from everywhere) and I would make little tinder fires under the branches of the tree inside my cardboard ‘fort’. One evening after I’d returned home I heard the sirens of a fire truck race to the end of my block and I was terrified that I hadn’t gotten my little fire put out and it had spread to engulf the neighboring houses. I swallowed my tongue trying to get enough spit into my mouth to counteract this fear, but went to bed shivering – sure in my heart that there would be a knock on the door from a detective holding the matchbook I’d left and telling my parents that my fingerprints had been found and the neighbors identified me as the strange little girl they’d seen hanging around the vacant lot.
I never did find out what happened, and never walk my dog that way again.