Friend Melissa and I had dinner here recently. As usual we talked about everything under the sun, or at least the stuff that matters, relationships, art, sex, food, and gardens. We also, for reasons I can't recall, discuss bed-bugs.
At three o'clock the next morning I wake from a dead sleep with not one, but two very intense bites, one on my hand, one under my arm. I know 3am is not a time when I'm at my most rational. Frankly at this hour of the night I go to the worst case scenario as easily as inhaling, and worst case becomes a whole lot more epic and elaborate than even my most overblown thoughts at any other time of day. No, let's not assume the worst, I tell myself. Let's not jump to any conclusions. Let's not act precipitously.
I wake myself up enough to be sure this isn't just some sort of powerful dream, but nope, those itches are real, I'm not imagining them. And they feel huge, especially the one under my arm.
Okay, no need to panic, there could be any number of explanations for this, bed-bugs are not the only option, in fact they're pretty unlikely, I haven't brought any new furniture or, I don't know, company into the apartment, let alone my bedroom, as I understand it bed-bugs don't bite in ones and twos like this, if you have them, you're infested, and they start feasting the minute you lie still long enough, all OVER your body, in fact you probably can't get to sleep very easily because of the biting and the itching, and let's acknowledge here, I was fully asleep for nearly four hours, that's a good sign, right? I mean there's no reason to assume the worst here, is there, that I've somehow gotten infested, which probably means the whole damn apartment is infested if for no other reason than the dog sleeps on any flat surface he can find, no, there's no reason to panic, and decide I HAVE TO BURN THE ENTIRE APARTMENT AND POSSIBLY WHOLE FLOOR THEN GO SOAK IN AN ALCOHOL BATH FOR 36 HOURS, RIGHT? RIGHT?
I look at the welts in the bathroom mirror. Yup, the one under my arm especially is really big. I put some anti-itch stuff on the bites, then go back to my room, wondering if I should check to for bed-bugs, even though I don't have the slightest idea how, I don't know what they look like, or how big they are, or where they like to hang out, though I think the underside of the bed is a favorite spot, should I go online first and do some research so I know what I'm looking for and what do I do if I find them, go sleep in the living room, do we have enough plastic bags in the house that I could blanket the place, or at least my room, do I wake Tommy up now, or do I wait to tell him the good news in the morning? My brain flying around like a fruit bat with all this, I walk into the bedroom, flick on the side lamp...
and there, just above my pillow, is a mosquito the size of a humming bird.
I squash her flat, and she leaves a red smear on my wall. Don't ask me what a mosquito is doing if a fifth floor Harlem walk-up at the end of October. I haven't a clue.
But I have never been SO happy to see a mosquito before in my life.