The spring semester of my junior year at Ole Miss brought both fear and hilarity. It was one of those years that made a fool of itself without anyone else's help. I was on the verge of turning twenty-one, and I was climbing back from the edge of a relationship that had broken my confidence into fractured pieces.
That semester I was storing my books, hairdryer, and bed in a remarkably spacious trailer that had a mild ladybug infestation in a town that didn't believe in cell service.
I spent my Christmas break at home with my parents (who supplied me with food, water, and a hair essentials), and I decided to temporarily move in with my friend Taylor after the break. I had forgotten to bring an extra hair dryer to my new house and, since Taylor is a boy, he didn't have one I could borrow. I didn't have any girlfriends at the time (or money), so the only real option I had was to drive thirty minutes outside of town to get mine. I probably could have used the money I spent on gas to buy a new powder blue hair dryer but it was the idea of spending money on something I already had that bothered me.
I parked my 1802 Kia Spectra behind the back porch of the trailer and was instantly surrounded by a Labrador and his twelve friends. I was used to fighting through the pack of tamed wolves to get to the back door; I wasn't used to the German Shepherd staring back at me when I walked into the kitchen.
"Don't worry about Sadie," the homeowner had said when I called her earlier to inform her of my plan.
"She's our new German Shepherd!" she said.
I crouched down to meet the puppies that rushed by her to nip and paw at my ankles, because that's what puppies do. They love you unconditionally, and they trust you undeniably. I could have been there to skin them for a fur coat and they would have danced around my legs with their tongues out, helplessly falling over each other.
I stood up to meet Sadie's wary eyes, and I used my best "goo goo gah gah" voice while congratulating the dog for being a "good girl" and not attacking me. Did you know that telling a dog they are good will not keep them from ripping off your face?
I ran down the paneled hallway and slammed my door in the dog's face. Through the cheap, unstable and falsely safe wood I heard the rumble from deep in her throat, daring me to escape. I felt hushed curses dive from my lips while my neck turned purple.
I'm not sure if I was yelling at life or the dog, but I sent out one measly, never-received text to vent my frustration to Taylor:
Scary dog. Trapped. Going to escape through the window.
The only issue was my two hundred pound mahogany bed blocking my way to freedom.
It was February and frigid for Mississippi, and I was drenched in sweat. Partly from being out of shape but mainly from fear that I was going to be eaten alive when the dog realized she could slam her body into the door to open it and get to me.
I hastily pulled and jerked the headboard away from the window with my laughable muscles while cursing at God, my parents, and myself for somehow letting this happen. And then I pulled out my phone to film the entire event. When I did find new friends I wanted them to believe me when I told them about this story. They were going to believe me, dammit.
I managed to tug my bed far enough away from the window to slide through and push open the glass. And I quickly found that my escape plan didn't leave room for a nylon screen blocking me from the outside world.
Three thoughts crossed my mind:
1. I HATE German Shepherds. Particularly this one.
2. I cannot cut through their window!
3. I am cutting through their window.
I contemplated my tools: a bobby pin, necklace, and car keys, and then I decided the keys were really the only sane option. If the police were going to find my body then I wanted them to at least have some sort of idea as to what I was doing. I didn't want to look like a psychopath gripping onto a bobby pin.
I'm sure I looked like a prisoner attempting to escape Alcatraz with a fingernail file, because I sawed and hacked at that screen like I was on death row. I hate to admit the small amount of giddiness that filled me, because I have always followed the rules. I never litter, I try always to say 'please' and 'thank you', I never cheat on tests, and I don't speed. It was nice to be rebellious; I was breaking out. And then, when I could, I punched the screen with my fist and it fluttered to the ground below me and landed on the rosebush right below the sill. The plant couldn't have been more scripted, and neither could the growls from the other side of the door.
I prepared myself to jump but not before I chucked my mint green hair dryer out the window where it broke into three fixable pieces. I landed in the rosebush quickly after, but I firmly believe it was a mild inconvenience compared to what it probably feels like to have your ears yanked off by a dog. I sent one text to the owner of the dog and the house:
Tried to eat me. Cut through your window screen. Sorry.
I yanked open my car door, and I shoved myself inside after I scrambled up from the ground.
With dirt road flying behind me and my hair dryer riding shotgun I realized I was going to be just fine that semester.