Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Smell of Napalm

Thunderstorms are passing over head. The sky lights up a bright flash, and silence, absolute, and then a crackle of sound, and then nothing; the rain falls and the splash of light and rumble of thunder continue. It's a beautiful dance, one that does not come to Korea very often. Each year we get maybe four thunderstorms. In Chicago you have several in a season, beautiful, violent scary storms. In Korea the rain is gentle and the thunder merely a grumble in the air. It is beautiful but it is not home, and it makes me a bit homesick. Maybe I'm just tired. Yesterday I woke earlier then usual; my nemesis had somehow managed to squirm into my apartment and since then my sleep as been disturbed. It is spring, the icy air only recently being replaced by cooler air, only recently becoming spring like, and already I have a mosquito.

I struggled with the mosquito for at least an hour before I finally managed to corner it. I woke and turned on the lights to look for it. I didn't want to move. I wanted to let sleep pull me in and my warm soft covers hold me and keep me in sleep, better then a lover, more conforming, more willing to just let me be in my rest; but no, the covers were being wrenched from me by the buzzing in my ear. I was angry. I pulled the blanket over my head. I was not going to move. I was not going to wake up for a mosquito that I was convinced was all in my head. I get paranoid about the little flying parasites. I make them up sometimes when they are not really there. So I talked myself out of this mosquito, it did not exist I was going back to sleep.

It took only a few seconds of breathing my recycled air to make me come up. I pulled off the covers and took a fresh breath, told myself again that there was no mosquito and worked to drift into sleep. It worked, I was passing away into silence when "buzz". Now I was angry. I knew it was in here with me, I knew it could not be my imagination. I knew it had to be real. So I sat up and turned on the bedside light and looked for it. I looked at the clock at the same time 5:30 a.m. Lucky me.

I put my hand out in front of me. Rested it on my leg, rested it, waiting, hoping, wondering if I was really going mad. After a few seconds the warm blanket surrounding my leg started calling to me and I drifted back towards my happy slumber when I felt my finger itch. I snapped my eyes open, woke, looked down and there it was, the evil little fiend that was going for his morning snack. He moved my other hand fast, I was ready, I was going to be a murderer before breakfast, but the bastard pulled away to quickly and all I ended up doing was slapping myself around. I rested back against the headboard and began to sulk.

My eyes closed for a second, but it must have been longer, as suddenly I snapped awake as a buzzing passed by my ear. I moaned, load, a grunt of rage, of absolute hatred for this pestilent little monster that had invaded my peaceful home. It's too cold, I thought, it's too early, it's too much. It's not fair. The howl of the wronged at 5:30 am. The howl of the haunted.

I sat back and looked around in the soft orange light thrown around by the lamp. I waited, I looked, I looked. There it was. I could see it, was there, looking at me, waiting on the wall. I could see it against the cream colored wall. There it was. I grabbed the book next to my bed. I waited, I breathed. I was the hunter and here was my prey, here it was I just had to be patient. I lined up my book, I held my breath. I stopped.

I slammed it hard into the wall. As I pulled it away I saw the slight grey sludge that was left behind in the wake. I win, I thought, a cold, comfortless victory. It was grey. This was not the mosquito that had been eating at me. Somewhere it's blood sated sister was laughing at me as it bred a thousand more mosquitoes into my apartment. I swore, I shook my fist angry at the circle of life I was being drawn into against my will. It was useless, so I tried to go back to sleep.

Five minutes later I got up and made a cup of coffee. I'd lost. This was yesterday and I'm still tired. And it's only the beginning of mosquito season.

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