The Crack in the Kitchen Door
When our older child, Kirti, turned three years old, we’d still had no visitors in our new village location. We thought it was time we put ourselves on the map and acquaint our friends with our new area. The kids were asleep and Ken, too, who had just returned exhausted from Delhi. I stayed busy in the kitchen with the next day’s final preparations. The last thing to be done was to boil water to drink. We had no well or running water and brought it in vessels from far away. I had some large pots on my stove and was impatiently waiting for it to boil so I could go to bed. It didn’t help that I kept peeping under the lids, holding up my blackened kerosene lantern, to see if it was boiling yet. Life was simpler than we sometimes desired.
In the midst of the boiling, I turned around and looked at the door which led into the large hall and the boys’ bedrooms. It was closed and locked, but when I was alone with my imagination, I was more on the cautious side. I had a fear that a snake may sneak its way into the house. Even so, how would I ever see it with my blackened lantern? When I turned to the kitchen door, I thought I saw something white in the crack at the bottom. However, knowing my fears were apt to take my thoughts on an irrational journey, I decided to buck up and just get on with my work —which I did, quite successfully.
The water was about to boil, but suddenly Ken was too! He bellowed loudly from the bedroom, “Frieda! Get in here quick!” Alarmed at the sound of his voice, I dashed into the bedroom and waited for his instructions… but there was silence. Then I heard the sound of his breathing, the gentle rippling sound of sleep.
I looked back at the door and saw something entering; it moved slowly into view, I reported its entry; “There’s something coming in the door and it’s… it’s a…” and then yelled, “…SNAKE!” Ken jumped up and was out of bed in a flash. I followed behind. He shut the bedroom doors hoping to keep the snake in one room. Then he grabbed my boiled water off the stove and threw it in the direction of the snake as I held the blackened lantern out for “light,” which gave him almost no visibility.
“I don’t see it.” He said. We looked everywhere in the kitchen, which seemed to be the only the only room where it could be. Yet, it was not. Ken opened the hall door and with a broom, carefully pushed the wastebasket into the hall, hoping that the snake might have gone into it, for that was the only place left for it to hide. Then he went to the boy’s rooms and woke them up. Because the large hall had many windows, there was more moon light.
The boys reluctantly woke and each grabbed some kind of weapon; a stick, a broom, a brick, or whatever they found. When they had all circled the waste basket (at a safe distance), Ken knocked it over. Nothing happened. With a stick, he began emptying every scrap of garbage and trash out of it. Still nothing. (Great! I thought, the snake is still at large in the kitchen.) When the last piece of rubbish was pulled from it the snake raced out. Ken killed it immediately with his stick. He took the lantern from me and looked closely at the snake. It was a krait, which though small, are more poisonous than a cobra.
It was another lesson to me about my useless worry. I wondered if I’d ever really be able to give up fully my fears of scorpions and snakes. How deep could this trust lesson really settle into me? And who was I trusting to keep me safe? There was only one answer, because only ONE could do this. God.