O Possum, O Possum, Wherefore Art Thou?

Erica Rhodes
5 min readJul 19, 2021

There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls. — Aeschylus

“I’m scared!”

“What’s wrong?”

My friend Lori giggled on the other line in that what-this-time kind of way.

“There’s a possum outside my door and he’s staring at me!”


“Here, I’ll FaceTime you and show you.”

“Wow, he does look kind of scary,” she admitted, “like the guy from Beetle Juice.”

“Exactly.” I agreed, having no recollection of what she meant.

Her boyfriend got on the phone and said, “It’s a baby. He’s probably scared.”

“I’m scared!!!”

“Just give him some food.”

“No way! Then he’ll be here forever.”

“Well, he’s not going to hurt you,” Lori promised.

“I don’t know why he is staring at me though!”

We stayed on the phone until I realized he wasn’t going to leave any time soon.

“I guess I’ll just do my laundry tomorrow,” I conceded. “Thanks for talking to me, you guys.”

The baby possum stayed there all night. Every time I looked out the door, he was still staring in my direction through the glass door. At one point I said, “Are you my Dad?” I thought I saw a wink.

“Are you Matt’s dad?”

My landlord’s Dad also passed away recently, tragically a few hours before Matt was supposed to see him.

“He’s not home yet,” I told him. “They’re moving soon too.”

Eventually I took him for what he was, just a lost, baby possum, with a terrifying gaze.

I stopped looking to see if he was still there, and I went to bed.

The next morning, he was gone.

And the next, still no show.

And the night after that, no possum.

I started to miss him, actually. Where did he go? Did he find his parents?

Why did I miss something that scared me so much?