Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hungry ghosts

I inherited from my mum a tendency to react badly to insect bites. A famous family photo shows my mum with her eyes swollen shut and face a puffy mass after a bite from a horsefly. Insanely itchy, raised red welts can materialise from the smallest bite.

I'm in Sydney, where it has been raining; it's warm, and damp, and these are perfectly agreeable conditions for mosquitoes. At night I have to swaddle myself in a sheet, trying not to expose my body to the voracious beasties. The tiny whine of the divebomber still seeks me out and as soon as I'm asleep, and vulnerable, the mosquito fun park is open for business.

I awoke this morning with an absurdly swollen top lip, looking as though my cosmetic surgery had gone wrong: a Paris Pout caused by a kiss from a mosquito. There were bites on my ankles, neck and shoulders too. Stepping from the shower I saw a beastie on the mirror: slow, fat, drunk with success, it made no move to escape as I splattered it on the glass - no quarter given, nor expected - and watched with repulsion as a huge bubble of stolen blood pulsed out from its body.

Now I know how it feels to kill in cold blood - my blood.


greenwords said...

Your poor lip! They are truly horrific at the moment, you can't poke your nose outside without being accosted. I don't know why it's so impossible to keep them out of the house, last night before bed we were sealing tiny gaps in the window screens with gaffa tape to try to keep the little blighters at bay.

mancsoulsister said...

I wouldn't advise you come to NZ, home of the ravenously nasty Sand Fly. I generally don't react badly to stings and bites, but a week on the South Island amongst these beasties, left me covered in swollen red bites.... Not nice

I hope your lip is feeling better now!

LottieP said...

Thanks for the kind words, greenwords, and the warning, MSS. I'm now back in HK, doing battle with cockroaches - but at least they don't bite.

One theory goes that everyone gets bitten but some of us just react more dramatically to the bloodsuckers' poison.