At a loss as to how to proceed, once daylight comes, I call for help and, with one experienced in these matters, gingerly re-open the door. We search everywhere but the snake is no longer there. Now I have a new situation. The creature must be there, but where? A bathroom is not a place you boycott for long so I gradually resume my visits, taking care not to expose myself to any sudden assault. It was there but not there.
Gradually my fear of the serpent lessens and I become used to my hidden guest. I am moving from fear and a desire to murder the thing, though I draw little comfort from hearing there are 250 species of snakes in Zimbabwe and only 57 are dangerous! That is still one in five – not enough to make me drop my guard. But I am coming to tolerance for what is now a ghost. I am even on the way to a relationship! We are – almost – friends. I have a name for it: Serafino!
The hours pass and another trip to the bathroom. Surprise, there he/she is half on the window ledge, half in the basin. I call my friend again. To my horror – but I can think of no other solution – he fetches a stout stick. Serafino puts up a hopeless defence. She wriggles this way and that but she is trapped. Her lifeless body is carried out on the stick.
I feel momentarily sick. What could we have done? (I discover later I could have called ‘Reptile Rescue’ on 0772 275550). What surprises me is my change of heart. From fear, almost terror, I had moved to – almost – friendship. I realised too there was an opening in the fly screen at the top of the window where Serafino must have entered and maybe it fell and could not get back. It was on the window sill because it was on its way out.
Well, there it is. I won’t draw any moral – beyond recognising, once again – how I am invited to be friends with nature, however unwelcome its visitations.
Good bye, Serafino!Post published in: Faith