I woke slower than one would expect, tossing from one side of the bed to the other, overheated and unable to overcome the impulse to scratch. When I came into consciousness from this fitful sleep, I was lying on my back, my right arm extended straight above me with my left hand furiously clawing at the warm welt I could feel spreading across my forearm. Rolling over to restrain myself my right hand flew to satisfy another burning itch just behind my left shoulder. The more I struggled against it, the greater the irritation. I could feel the tiny bites swelling bigger and bigger demanding the satisfaction of my nails grating harshly over them, contributing to the irritation.
I squinted at the clock: 3:45 a.m.
Despite the fact that the outside temperature was near 65 when I settled in to bed a few hours earlier, the room felt sultry and the window open in the next room no longer provided a refreshing breeze. In my foggy half-dreamy state, I thought I had been transported to a jungle and craved mosquito netting to hang over my bed. I wondered if I could find the mosquito repellent in my linen closet without turning on the hall light. When the amplified buzzing of my tormenter hovered near my ear, I went into a nearly involuntary thrashing that startled me into complete consciousness. I went to the bathroom to inspect the damage and counted 5 or 6 angry red pricks - larger than average mounds with the irritation fanning across the skin. When I returned I shut the window and turned on the air conditioner and buried myself under the duvet hoping that despite the fact the hour had crept past 4, I could get a bit more sleep before my alarm sounded. The mosquito struck me one more time on the forehead before I drifted back to sleep with pillows askew and sheets twisted.
This morning, the only evidence of my bedmate are a few faded bites and my drooping eyelids.