Mosquito Palpitations

The sound is incessant, shifting and scouring its way into my ears. Standing in sharp contrast to the nightly silence in my room, the vibrations hit with an almost palpable weight. I can feel my body tighten as the mosquito flies ever closer and closer.

Only my head and one hand are stuck out from underneath my duvet. Quickly retracting my hand from the open air into the relative safety of my bed, I can hear the buzzing become more pronounced. I imagine a small insect circling through the dark room, beating its four wings faster than I could ever even move one limb. Its antennae smelling every carbon dioxide filled breath I exhale. I cover my mouth with the duvet, but still the droning continues, seeming to come straight for my head.

In my mind’s eye I keep seeing the mosquito, legs dangling beneath the segmented body, the sucker retracting and extending, a vast expanse of air surrounding it. How can such a small fragile creature make a sound that not only causes me to tense every muscle and feel every touch, but also makes it impossible to ignore its presence? Hard as I try, I can’t get the insect out of my head. The sound, the buzzing, almost becomes more than the insect itself. I have buried my head with the rest of my body, leaving only a small sliver of face open to the air.

My eyes remain shut as I desperately keep up the pretence of sleeping. The mosquito’s sound fills everything and I seem to feel the rotation of its wings, a small movement of air brushing the tiny hairs on my left cheek. Eyelids still shut I lash out with my arms, hands and blanket. The tension, build up through minutes of intense listening, is released in a sudden fluster of bedspread, arms and hands. As the duvet slowly drifts down, encasing my body once more, I immediately cast my attention outwards again, into the silence.

Nothing. I hear only the absence of mosquito. As I try to continue sleeping, my body still reacts to the smallest of sounds. I suspect everything. The distant humming of a motorcycle becomes a slowly approaching insect. A car, breaking as it turns, momentarily transforms into the next mosquito. Even the rustling of my curtains is now the fluttering of wings. Gradually my body starts to relax, the sound returning to normal and I fall deeper into my bed.


Pauw Vos

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