By Maile

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My absolute FAVORITE holiday is upon us. Yes, I, the #open team’s peppiest member, have a dark sense of humor and generally delight in all things spook & macabre. So when my first-ever full swap experience turned a bit frightful, I knew I had to save this odd story for October.

It was a hot summer night, and somehow, the stars aligned to allow myself and Adam (the hub) a Saturday evening with no kids. I had to take advantage and plan something fun. Since I’d recently started dating my now-boyfriend, Pip* and Adam was getting to know Pip’s partner, Quinn* — it seemed like a perfect night for a double date. I invited them over, and we started to plan for a good time.

My pre-lifestyle-guest ritual involves cleaning my home like an absolute madwoman. On this night, I scuttered about the house, excitedly sweeping and tidying. With the house mostly clean, I lit a few candles and felt I earned myself a rest before hosting our guests.

Rest was not in the tarot cards for me this evening. As I opened my bedroom door and set foot into the hall, I immediately screamed — a bird was flying around! I watched as it dipped and swooped into the bedrooms before flying down to the first floor.

I should mention that I’m incredibly superstitious. This was the 3rd bird to have entered my 120-year-old home since we moved in. Hawaiian superstitions say when you see a moth or bird three times, it’s a death omen. I was SPOOKED.

I headed downstairs, where Adam had also seen our flying friend before it disappeared somewhere in the house. We cautiously looked around, but couldn’t find it! Adam asked if I was sure it was a bird; I told him I was certain, despite a sneaking suspicion setting in.

I entered Adam’s home office and quickly spotted it. Hanging upside down on the curtain, and directly above his work station, was a BAT. How did I know to look there, you ask? This is the exact spot a bat had perched in our home two years prior.

I quickly and quietly closed the door, looked at Adam, and calmly stated, “It’s not a bird.” Oddly comforted knowing that it wasn’t a third bird and no longer worrying about impending death, I made a mental note to sage the house.

With the bat secured in the office, now I just had to figure out when animal control could come by, easy!

Adam had to finish his shift with his new office-mate while I called the 24-hour wildlife removal expert- who was out of town until the next morning (talk about bat luck, right?). But no fear, Ron assured me we’d be just fine closing the bat in the office until he could stop by the next day. Seemed like no.big.deal.

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We decided not to stress and made light of the batty situation- telling Pip and Quinn the story as they arrived. The four of us continued with our night, barely giving that bat another thought; we had more exciting plans to focus on *wink wink*

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Pip and I fell asleep in the spare room, looking forward to a lazy Sunday morning and delighting in our first sleepover together. Sounds blissful, doesn’t it?

Snuggled up and dozing for what felt like just minutes, I awoke suddenly, feeling confused. I quickly became aware of a strange noise, the room wasn’t completely dark, but it must have been early morning because it was still hard to see. And yet, there I saw it, flying frantically from one side of the room to the other, darting uncomfortably close to our heads…another BAT.

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I froze for a moment, then looked at Pip, who was sleeping peacefully. I shook him awake, waited for a second, saying to him, “Ok, don’t panic.” I appreciated that waking in this manner didn’t appear to scare him. He began to shake off the sleep and realize what was happening.

The bat began swooping around again, and we pulled the covers over our heads, assessing the situation. Pip had taken out his contacts and could barely see, we were both naked, and the bat’s flying path was right across the route we’d need to get to escape the bedroom. Somehow, we remained calm, laughing, and joking nervously as we figured out our plan.

If you’re not familiar with bats, their small size prevents them from flying for long periods. After 30 seconds to a minute of chaotic flying, swooping, and diving, it would land on the windowsill or dip into the closet for a few minutes. Pip and I eventually got up the nerve to run to the door during one of the bat’s rest periods. We shut the bat in the room behind us and took a breather in the hall.

By now, I was ready to follow up with the wildlife expert, wanting these bats out of my house. On very little sleep, thoroughly spooked, and totally naked, I zipped downstairs to grab Ron’s phone number off the table. As I made it to the kitchen, I was absolutely SHOOK as the bat from the night before flew right towards my head.

What was happening?! I panicked, dropped to the floor, and opened the kitchen door, hoping it would fly out. Pip called down the stairs, and I told him NOT to come down. After a few minutes, this bat disappeared, and I assumed it went out the door. For now, our batshit crazy ordeal was over.

It was not a lazy Sunday. As Adam and Quinn woke, they were surprised to hear of the ordeal we went through as they slept peacefully unaware.
Pip and Quinn left our house to get some sleep. We assured them that the wildlife expert would be by to capture the bedroom bat, we’d get it tested, and we’d all have a good story to tell.

If only it was that simple…

An hour later, Ron showed up with his gadgets and tools, ready to capture our one, possibly two bats. And as I watched him search our home for an entire hour, I realized that we were not going to find our flying friends and that this ordeal was not over.

Due to the chance of rabies, the general rule is that if you’re sleeping in a room with a bat, there’s no way to be sure you haven’t been bitten. You have to report to the ER for preventative rabies treatment. Calling Pip and telling him that we needed to seek medical care felt oddly enough, like an STI disclosure. We discussed our doctor’s recommendations and made plans to spend our afternoon in the Emergency Department.

Pip and I got in a bonus date as we headed to the ER together. The nurses were bemused by our story and even pushed our beds together to hold hands as we received the many painful injections — so romantic, right?

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The doctor informed us that we’d be required to return to the hospital three more times over the following two weeks to complete the treatment. We left feeling exhausted and sore from our ‘needle play’ date but in good spirits.

Pip and I continued to hit it off well, making the best of our on-going rabies treatments by turning them into dates: grabbing a coffee or bite to eat after. Looking back, I realize that this 2 week period was a good gauge of our compatibility. We both took the ordeal in stride, joking that we would miss our “Bat Dates” once treatment was done. We ultimately learned each other’s medical histories, helped make appointments for one another and even shared some laughs as we watched hospital staff realize we had different spouses.

A spooky swap and a rabies romance were certainly not on my 2020 bingo card, but at this point, I’m #open for whatever this wild and wacky year has to throw my way.

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If you wanna make your own hot Halloween connections, download #open: the dating app community for open relationships, BDSM and more! You can find me in-app by doing a hashtag search for #spookyswap!

*names changed for privacy

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