I will finish reading in the library, I thought. Rolling my backpack outside, a to-do reel displayed cerebrally. Blissfully unaware, I was.
Came back for my lunch, laptop bag and purse. He appeared. Young Leap of the Prince Charming Clique. A toad almost the size of my iPhone decided to be a Monday morning blessing—and then had the nerve to try covert tactics.
He was still at first, as if his greenness wasn’t blatant against the cream wall. Then he did a little stagger step toward the ceiling. Playing conquer-the-phobia-and-capture-the-reptile would likely make me late for a four credit hour class, so Imani was thrust into decision mode.
‘Twas a Robert Frost moment. When the two roads diverged … I closed the bedroom and bathroom door, hopped in Jazzy, my Jetta, and pushed the reptile to the recesses of my mind. Of course, when I came home from school he was nowhere to be found. OMG! WTH! I live alone for reasons. A non-consensual roomie with wart connotations and overarching grossness. Lord, help me.
Solutions. I needed solutions.
Because I’m a student with a recently uncovered fear of frogs, I thought textbook-y. Google-y. What do educated people do? Notice? Notice! Yes. I will put the maintenance men on notice. So, I made a work order and request for someone to retrieve Young Leap.
A friendly staffer offered assurances that if Young Leap appears during business hours, and I called the office, they’d evict him for me. He laughed good-naturedly, as if relieved that it wasn’t a break-in, beat-up or mold complaint.
An aside: Sometimes I’m a hyper-rage-against-gender-normativity-and-expectations chick. Other times, my voice ratchets up a few octaves and I want a man to do the manly thing. Namely. Get. The. Frog. Now.
About a month before this, I stood outside for 45 minutes because a toad boy band assembled on and around my front door. Calling my mother proved to be of little use, as her usually limitless well of support dried up a bit when her voice cracked. She was laughing. Or worse, doing that whisper-vibrato one does to suppress a laugh. My baby brother literally Face timed some sense and courage into me.
Otherwise, I might still be paying rent, sleeping in Jazzy and trying to couch outfit repeats in terms of sustainability and going green—instead of admitting that a G gets scared sometimes. Thanks, Kalif.
Well, fast forward. Young Leap hasn’t appeared in about two weeks. Despite scouring every potentially frog friendly crevice of my digs, neither he, nor his icky legs nor beady eyes are visible.
Then, it hit me. He might be gone. Or he might be so hidden that it’s like he doesn’t exist anyway. And tiptoeing around a place that I sign the lease for isn’t fancy, Millennial or cool. So, I simultaneously created an NWA playlist (not really), drank a protein shake (not really) and walked around like the queen of my domain (yes, really).
Young Leap brought other notions to mind. The frog-to-prince trope. Transformations. Growing up. Loyalty to fear. Loyalty and fear.
Sometimes inconveniences scare people out of otherwise healthy opportunities. Sometimes people psych themselves out. Sometimes letting people know what’s bothering you is best, not because they will always do right by you, but because candor is right for you. Sometimes things really aren’t that scary.
My classmates and loved ones have inquired. I’m ok, y’all. Really. Besides, whenever something seems stressful, unwarranted or ill-timed, odds are good that something better is already jumping.