Wednesday, April 14, 2010

bugs in the house

Feet bare, moments stolen, I'm about to step into the shower. But right at the threshold wiggles something with many, many legs. Millipede? Centipede? Whatever. It's gross. And very alive. I swallow a shriek and smash that sucker. But now I'm slightly undone – where there's one, there's more, right? Coming up the drain? Nestled in my towel? I can't enjoy this shower. I'm out of here much faster than usual. And now I'm having a bad hair day.

I'm making dinner now, rice on the floor, compost bowl overflowing. The baby is crying and I'm trying to do this fast. Eliza heads to the bathroom – she can do it all on her own now, I'm hands free, unobliged. I hear her singing in there, audible over this clank-sizzle-cook. Suddenly, a scream. I roll my eyes – what now – and charge in.


[Quick context: bugs terrify – I mean TER.I.FY – this child. Yet she'd like a pet snake. Go figure.]

I'm annoyed. This bug thing has been getting out of control. She needs to learn to deal. Every fly and ladybug sends her screaming indoors. You're going to be inside all summer if bugs are going to bother you this much. That's my mantra lately. Claire is sick of hearing it.

I help Eliza off the toilet. Forcewash her hands. She's shaking. I'm still rolling my eyes. I don't even see a bug.

Suddenly, fresh screams. She hobble-bolts out of the bathroom, hands wet, pants around her ankles. She slams her bedroom door. I know she's in bed now, huddled under her satin-edged blanket, sucking her nuk.

I roll my eyes again.

I turn towards the window, expecting to see a Japanese beetle or some smallish thing.

But, Dear lord, I breathe. There it is.

It's huge. Like a mosquito but fifty times bigger. Long, long legs slowly creeping it across the window screen. A foot above the toilet.

And this thing flies, too.

I shudder. Repulsed.

I roll up a magazine and swat it. Flush it.

Then I go hug my child. She's still shaking, though she laughs through snot and tears when she hears about the bug's yellow, watery funeral.

She comes out of her room slowly. I'm sure she's thinking where there's one, there's more. Me, this morning.

She's back to Legos now, incident forgotten. But I don't like myself right now.

Tomorrow, I'll be better. I'll acknowledge her fear as real.

And if I have to roll my eyes, I'll close them.