I married my husband when he didn't have two nickles to rub together. I married my husband two months out of college. I married my husband after knowing him two years. I married him 10 days after he turned 22. Two's seem to play a running theme in our marriage.
Little did we both know in that first year of marriage that the two of us were incredible chickens too.
When we first married we were struggling newlyweds. Our first apartment was in the Hollywood Hills. Not the nice part. Closer to Hollywood Blvd. Way closer. The Mann's Chinese Theater lit up our living room like the Fourth of July. A friend who owned the building gave us a good deal on rent. We were grateful and young and knew it wouldn't be forever so we moved in. A homeless guy lived in the laundry room. An aging star lived across from us on the second floor. She played piano at all hours of the day and night. I'm sure she was talented in her day but those days were long gone. She had hair like Einstein and babbled out the window to our son. They had many a conversation consisting of gibberish and hand gestures. She was harmless. A prostitute lived downstairs. Her mother lived across the pool from us. They carried on conversations by yelling from their respective apartment windows across the complex never bothering to visit one another. An ex-military guy high on PCP lived a staircase over from us. He got high one night and thought he was back in Vietnam. Helicopters were a nightly occurrence and that particular night he had a flashback hearing the chopper above and the police had to cart him away. A possum lived in a tree outside our window and would watch me with beady eyes as I stood in the kitchen warming up baby bottles. Homeless people lived between the apartment buildings. Have I painted a pretty enough picture yet? I do have a point for bringing this up.
Your sense of safety and well-being becomes heightened as well as anxiety and stress when you live in an environment like that. One particular day we were watching the news and it just so happened that a killer was on the loose. He was somewhere in the area. Somewhere nearby. I saw the hubby's hair stand up on the back of his neck and his eyes shift to our front door checking the 9 locks and deadbolts holding the balsa wood door on it's hinges. He leaned over the couch in our tiny living room and twisted the bent tin foil wrapped metal dry cleaning hangars disguised as an antenna on our 8 inch black and white television to try and get a better look at the guy. It was a distorted and fuzzy picture to say the least. Cable hadn't been invented back then.
Two chickens were hatched on that couch that night. Two scared young chickens with vivid imaginations. For two weeks the killer was on the loose. Two long weeks. For two weeks the hubby swore he saw him at every turn. We would be at a stoplight and he would think it was the guy next to us innocently waiting at the light who was probably out on an errand buying a loaf of bread for his ten kids at home. We slept with the windows locked, a bat by the bed and a heightened sense of awareness.
I have no idea why when I think back on it these many years later that my hubby was certain that the killer was coming for us next. Anyway, after a long two weeks culminating in looking over our shoulders we took a self imposed sabbatical from "killer watch" and went out with friends. The hubby imbibed a little too much. I dragged him home and up the steep flight of stairs to our dingy apartment and deposited him on our bed fully dressed, safe and sound. He was snoring in minutes. I got ready for bed and put our son to sleep. We had a one bedroom apartment the size of a postage stamp so we were cramped together in one room. In the middle of the night our son woke up crying and attempted to climb out of his crib. I woke up immediately to his cries, jumped out of bed and scooped him up. I turned on the light in the hallway to see if anything was wrong with him and seeing that he was fine I rocked him in my arms and carried him back and forth in the hallway and then back into our room. I left the light on in the hallway and stood for a moment in the doorway to our room.
I was just getting ready to put our sleeping son back in his crib when my husband sat straight up in bed and pointed behind me making unintelligible sounds mingled with a look of horror on his face. The chicken in me took over. I panicked. I screamed, "What is it?" and started to hop back and forth on both feet not bothering or thinking clearly for even a second to look behind me. This woke up the baby who started to cry again. My husband continued his pointing and grunting. I screamed louder in near hysterics by this time still not bothering to turn around as I was glued to the spot in sheer terror as I clutched my son tightly. Then my husband started making a horrid guttural yelling sound and I came unglued. He said something along the likes of "He's behind me" ..followed by a yell and and a bunch of garbled words and that pointing finger. I knew the day had come. The killer had finally found us. I nearly fainted on the spot. My knees shook and my mind went completely blank. We continued our screaming symphony until I realized after a long throat scratching high pitched wail that I had been at it for quite some time and the supposed killer behind me hadn't made a single attempt to silence me or my husband. My husband hadn't moved from the bed, and our baby had stopped crying and was staring at the both of us as if he was waiting for a break in the yelling so he could say his first sentence, "Please put me up for adoption."
The phone rang and there was a pounding on our door. That silenced us immediately. It was our neighbors. They had heard the commotion as did all of Hollywood that night. In the end when all was calm it ended up that the hubby had been talking in his sleep as he did every so often. He woke up in the middle of his sleep talking to see me standing over the bed screaming and holding our child and thought that someone was coming through the window behind him. I thought his pointing and guttural sounds meant someone was coming up behind me in the hallway. We had a good laugh and sore throats the next day. I asked the hubby why we had the bat by the bed seeing as he left it there the whole time and made no attempt to pick it up. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "That's not to hit the intruder. That's for me. I intend to knock myself out with it if anyone breaks in and let you deal with it." Smiling he went into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich and watch the possum climbing outside our window. I followed and said, "They wouldn't want me....I taste just like chicken."
Two chickens...that's us.
"Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!"