2:30am. Watching a little Netflix, laying on my beanbag, my feet propped up on my faux-ottoman (by which I mean a speaker with a blanket balled up on top of it) when I noticed a lizard running down the wall in the corner of my apartment. A small lizard. Maybe six inches tip to tail.
I sat up and looked at him. He stopped in his tracks. I looked quickly then to the two-foot hole in the ceiling above. The hole that’s been there for just under a month now. The hole that dropped large chunks of sheetrock to the floor one night as I slept. Peacefully until that moment.
Eyes back on my little lost friend now. Now how do I get you out of here? Got it.
Hold still, let me remove the screen from my window, the one I always keep open. It’s right here beside you, don’t worry.
I flip the latches and remove the screen. With a magazine, I approach the lizard. I guide him quickly to the window. And he’s gone.
It is one of the things about South Beach that gives me comfort. The lizards. It takes me to my happy place, my childhood.
In Saudi, lizards were the little creatures that we played with after school. One year, maybe when I was six or seven, my dad went on a business trip and brought back a pet iguana for me. I can’t remember what I named him. He was exotic, though. The everyday lizards, they were a part of the life I knew then. In South Beach, it brings me peace having them around.
(In my second apartment on the beach, the little fellow pictured above came in through the window by shower.)