There was a time in my life that I was addicted to crack and heroin. I was also homeless. Being homeless did not mean that I slept on the street, though. I stayed with my then boyfriend in a dilapidated trailer.
The trailer was like what you saw in hoarder shows. They had four dogs. And there was dog shit everywhere. So much that it wasn’t cleaned up. So much that the entire floor of their bedrooms was covered in a thick layer of dog shit. It stank. And if you stayed in the place for a while, you stank too. So bad that people don’t want to be near you.
It was infested with roaches of all kinds. There was just no avoiding them. They were in the fridge. They were in the microwave. They still crawled out when you microwaved something. There was a thick, grainy dust and spots from them on every surface. Even on the walls and the ceiling. They were the most active at night. And the dogs would stomp, snap at and eat them.
Cobwebs from spindly spiders spanned across entire rooms. You could kill seven and five minutes later, more would appear.
The worst part of it all was the rats.
They were fat. They were loud. I had been laying on the couch when I heard something walking through the hallway. It stopped at the entrance. It was huge and brown. It walked away slowly from me. As if it were not afraid.
I do not know how many there were. But they would get in the couch. And they would fight. I could feel them scuffling around inside. They felt like light knocking through the couch. They would squeak and screech loudly. I trembled in the pitch blackness of night. When the roaches came out and the rats were the most active. In the darkness, I did not know if it was a dog that ran across the floor just feet in front of me while I lay exposed on the couch, or if it was the giant, fat rat that had stared at me fearlessly earlier.I have post-traumatic stress disorder and the nightmares of this place are frequent and disturbingly real. I am back there and the rats are denning in the couch beneath me. I feel them thudding, fighting, and hear them screeching below.