It really started earlier in the day, because even when I break the rules, I observe the rules. I had two Aleve in the morning, then another two Aleve sometime in the afternoon, knowing damn well that the instructions restrict consumption to three Aleve in 24 hours, and only if the pain subsists. Later that evening, in bed and alone, my face starts to itch; what comes to mind? The side effects of Aleve abuse, or signs of an allergic reaction. There I am itching my temples, cheeks, and chin, as my concern starts to spread, the affected area begins to condense. Just as I’m about to reach for and re-read the bottle, to properly inform the forthcoming EMT operator of my self diagnosis, the pulsating mound protruding from my inner right eyebrow gives away the culprit. A slight shade develops as I confirm the marble sized mosquito bite blocking my eyelid from properly opening; it looked quite robotic actually, like I was shape shifting in the moment.
My parents are both Saint Lucian, nothing like this happens to them. My sister and I are Canadian and wildly allergic, not fatally, just cosmetically. My sister in particular has a history of mosquitoes twice biting her eyelid, which completely shut her eye closed and gravely scared our family the first time. I have been hospitalized three times in my life, the first was from a mosquito bite engulfing my forehead as a child, I don’t actually remember this, the story just gets retold by my parents every summer; the other two occasions require separate blog posts. Between now and then, my mosquito victimization has been limited to large quantities of bites lacing my arms or legs, most uncomfortably on my thumb where every movement constituted an itch.
Being an outdoorsy person, my summers are hard. I have left rooms due to mosquito shadows in my peripheral vision, because even in a room full of warm blooded Americans, I’m always the target. I refused to go to sleep that evening until I killed the mosquito terrorist and wasn’t an all night buffet. The hunt was short, within ten minutes the mosquito was mangled with a 700 page collection of Sherlock Holmes stories; then I fell asleep without applying any magical solutions from my internet searches. The site flattened overnight from its original beveled square shape. Without suffering through any real urges to itch, all remnants of the original shock were gone within two days. Great way to start the season, this is war, I’m going on the offensive this summer; in the mean time, hopefully I just survived the West Nile virus, and earned lifelong immunity.