How They Bite — about Mosquitos
The high-pitched violin squeal tasers me into consciousness. In the darkness of the treehouse, I slam on the light and frantically scan for the dainty menace. There she is, clinging to the netting on the inside. I grab my book and bodybrush, the only items inside with me and in a blur, clap the two together. Then silence. I survey the scene for evidence of the kill but fail to locate it. I wait for the telltale movement in my peripheral that will alert me to her whereabouts. Then I see it — both brush and book smeared with blood — my blood. My insides brought outside by the tiny bloodsucker. I lean in and see her mangled corpse amongst the mess. I feel satisfaction. Why they insist on flying so close to the ear, I do not know- might have gotten away with it otherwise.
I haven’t gotten away with it. Now the frenzy of the kill is over, I become privy to the warm, maddening sensation of her bite, located on the highly sensitive sole of the foot. I rub against the bedsheets to build friction — the heat momentarily satiates, but like a chain reaction, a dormant bite in another location flares, then another. And another. And another. Soon both lower legs are howling. Its too big a job for my home grown claws so I grab my brush and scour myself. There really isn’t much else in my brain in these strange moments — my universe is the mosquito bite. Like zen but really not.
Over the past few months, my ankles and feet have become a mottle of swollen lumps, weeping sores and solid scabs. Remedies galore; aloe vera, toothpaste, vinegar, onion, Southern Baptist style (abstinence) , cutting your nails to blunt nubbins - none of them worked. This is an on-going situation here on the Northern coast of Ecuador. This isn’t my first encounter; I’ve experienced them the world over for years, but at this level they have moved from nuisance to deal breaker. Seriously, when dusk falls and you feel the first ‘stitch’ (sting/itch?), its usually a matter of minutes before you’re driven inside to seek protection behind the netting. After dark often comes the realisation that maybe you didn’t escape them as well as you thought…
This is not a talk about the diseases they carry or their species or anything like that, though I should learn more about them. This is just an interested ponder on these tiny mites (who wait to strike and take their bites, for they are always hungry*), that remind me I’m also a food source —
Merely another creature among creatures.
*interjection of ‘The Darkling Elves’ by Jack Prelutsky