Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: My own worst nightmare

It’s that time of year when you pay more attention to things that go bump in the night. But I don’t need ghosts in my house to know living alone has become quite scary.

I shared with you that Katie Jo and I ended our relationship earlier this year, which meant I began living alone again for the first time in almost a decade. It also meant my living room became quite bare with the removal of her furniture, and my discarded pieces that had been left in the garage suddenly became important again. In particular, there was a leather lounger I decided to move back into place in front of the television. It’s just a chair, I thought, so I don’t need any help with this. The door to the kitchen from the garage includes two steps, and as I tried to guide the surprisingly uncooperative piece of furniture toward the threshold, one of its legs slipped off a step and slammed the full weight of the chair onto my leg.

When you bump your toe on a table or hit your head on a cabinet door, you immediately get mad. But when you really hurt yourself, you cry, and that’s exactly what I did. I squatted and sobbed for a full two minutes before I took a look at the damage. The swelling began immediately, and the impact point was already an ugly bruise. The good news came when I could put weight on that leg and walked without any difficulty. But the nausea that followed let me know I had really hurt myself, and I eventually asked someone else to finish the inadequate job I started.

I went to Piedmont Hospital in the following days to make sure there was no break or fracture, and am pleased to report the injury was superficial, both to my leg and my ego. So that night I decided to take it easy, threw some frozen turkey on the stove and started a movie. Knowing it would take a while for the meat to cook, I didn’t check on it very often. In fact, I forgot it was there. When I got up to get something else I realized my error and found my dinner charred and smoky. I opened a window to clear the haze just about the time my hallway smoke alarm rang. I quickly turned it off, finished cleaning the cookware and returned to the end of my movie.

Soon I heard voices and assumed it was just my neighbors, until I saw a face and hands pressed against my front door. I also saw the red lights flashing behind them, and felt the warmth of embarrassment. The alarm had triggered a call to my local fire department.

“I burned the turkey,” I said as I greeted the three men in uniform.

“We can tell,” said the eldest of the three, smiling.

After they made sure everything was ok, I apologized and offered them dinner, but explained it would have to be take-out. They laughed as they made their way back down my driveway to their massive red truck, lights flashing in all directions.

This Halloween I’m not afraid of witches and ghouls; at the moment I seem to be my own worst nightmare.