There I was, a passenger in my mom’s car at night, on my way to my grandparents’ house, when I saw him.
I noticed a shape out of the corner of my eye, but I hardly thought anything of it. I’m a naturally curious person, though, so I turned my head to look at it from a better angle after a moment.
At first I thought it was a cat. However, if it were a cat, it’d be a very short one, and it had toes that were unlike any cat I’d ever seen. My next thought was that it might be a huge rat.
And then it hit me.
I quickly exclaimed to my mom, “We have to turn around! I think I just saw a possum!”
My mom whipped a three-point-turn in the middle of the road and stopped just in front of the driveway of the stranger’s house. In the illumination of the KIA’s headlights, I saw him.
It was an opossum.
Over my mom’s warnings of, “Don’t you dare get out of the car and chase him!” I whipped out my phone and started taking pictures of the beautiful little guy. A second later, he heard our engine (for opossums have bad eyesight and the lights didn’t bother him) and scurried away. And he was fast!
See, most opossums are pretty slow. They meander at their own pace through yards and forests, and when confronted, they aren’t fast enough to run away from predators like mountain lions or bears, so they have a freeze reaction and play dead.
But this little guy went running like he had been training for this moment his whole life. In the blink of an eye, his short little legs went flying and he sprinted up the driveway at the fastest trot I’ve ever seen and proceeded to climb the outdoor stairs into the person’s yard.
He was out of sight – but certainly not out of mind – in just seconds. And then my mom, my grandparents, and later my aunt had to listen to my happy cries of, “A possum!! Oh, a possum!!” for the rest of the night.
I named him Bruce Banner.
Sorry for the wonky quality– the best quality picture I got showed too much of the street around the house for me to comfortably post it. Privacy, and all that. You can still see Bruce’s beauty and his speedy legs.