Murder in the night
Somewhere around midnight, I feel the bed shake.
In a half-conscious state, abruptly yanked from REM sleep but with my eyes still closed, I attempt to make sense of the situation. Theresa’s moving around, somewhat jerkily. I appear to have an upset stomach, and a bit of a headache as well. Maybe a bad mussel, maybe a chill from yesterday’s rain-enhanced cold, maybe just crankiness from being woken up. I choose to ignore the shaking, and go back to sleep.
Somewhere around one a.m., I feel the bed shake.
It’s Theresa again…or at least it appears to be…as she makes what, in my sleepy state, seem like unconscionably violent movements. I’m getting crankier, and wonder if this is going to go on all night. Finally she stands up, heading for the bathroom. I turn around, attempting to go back to sleep.
At two a.m., I snap awake. Again in the middle of REM, but something’s different this time. I actually open my eyes. Theresa is sitting up in bed, twitching her head around like an agitated bird.
“Are you OK?,” I mumble, still sleepy. I figure she’s had a bad dream of some sort.
“There’s a big bug in here.”
(We’ve been down this road before. Theresa hollers from the kitchen, “there’s a huge bug in here!” I stop what I’m doing, enter the kitchen, and find some tiny crawling thing, or a completely average-sized spider, and sometimes an ant. I kill it…danger averted…and go back to work.)
“Probably one of those sand flies.”
“No, I’m serious. There’s something really big in here. It keeps landing on me.”
But…I’ve been married long enough to know that going back to sleep isn’t going to satisfy anyone. So I get up, turn on the bedside lamp, and gaze blearily around the room. Theresa slips from the bed and tiptoes across the room, sees some fleeting shadow (probably me in the way of the lamp), and lets out a yelp. She is seriously freaked out. Really, though, how big could this thing be? I feel ridiculous, standing here in my boxers and still half-asleep, looking for some no-doubt tiny phantom menace that’s haunting Theresa’s dreams. If it’s not a fly, it’s probably drifting lint or something.
I see nothing. “What bug?”
“I thought I felt a bug on me earlier tonight, and I just brushed it off. Then I felt it again. It felt…it felt like it was covering the entire right side of my face. I could feel it touching my neck, and at the same time my cheek right below my eye.” She demonstrates with her hand, fingers on each named location. OK, that would be a big bug. But there’s no way there’s something like that in here. We’re not in the Amazon rainforest. “The last time I felt it, I brushed it away, and I heard a ‘thump’ as it hit the floor.”
“Sure you did,” I think to myself, looking around again.
Something catches my eye. I stop, retreat, look at the curtain that covers the window nearest her side of the bed. I pause.
“Oh. That bug.”