Measle

I had something in my bed.

Disclaimer: There is no concealed meaning to this. Something means something and “in my bed” literally means just that. Heck, this may end up being a ramble and you may not like it as much…

Before we begin, no, it was not a boy (ha-ha, who would want this mess?). But I really did have this thing in my bed a few weeks ago. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I write about it on the morning it happened? Because I don’t tell you guys everything about me Nosey Shirley. And I wanted to heal from the trauma it caused me first, so I could see if there was any humor in it. Also, no, I don’t dream about these things, they do happen. In reality or conjured up in my head, they are as real as the thing in my bed (sounds like the beginning of a horror movie).

At first, I thought it was a mosquito because I woke up with a lump on my forehead. That should have been the first clue that it wasn’t a mosquito right? Mosquito bites aren’t as big as this lump was. But leave it to my brain to come up with solutions. I was not reasoning, I mean, come on, I had a lump on my forehead! All my power to reason was sucked away and the little that remained was constrained in the lump. Are lumps a collection of un-sucked blood? And if so, why don’t vampire bites cause lumping?Anyway, I googled the lump till I was sure I had a combination of kwashiorkor, HIV, a severe case of the measle (get it? because it’s just the one) and was patient zero to an epidemic they would have to make movies for, then I waited for my mom, aka my personal all-round disaster manager, to come home.
So she walks in and I let her get settled in before revealing that she should enjoy the last few days we had left until her house was quarantined and the CDC came to take me away for “tests”. At least that’s what they were going to say till I find myself in a lab at a desert in the middle of nowhere.
“Is this a mosquito?” I ask her, pointing to my still lumpy forehead. I am batshit scared at this point. I just want her to tell me that she hit me in my sleep and that that is what caused it and all I had to do was wait a few days for the lump leave for the Land of Lumps and leave us alone. She comes closer. Lifts my face to the light.

She presses the lump.

“Is there pain?”

I hadn’t thought about the pain part all day. There was no pain. At least not the searing kind. Just some tiny baby pain. On a scale, it would have ranked at around the magnitudes of 0.5 out of 10. Which, depending on how you see it, is either really good, or completely underperforming.
Mom is full on Doctor Mode now. Her fingers are on my chin, facing my face this way and that, forehead creased into her signature 3-line frown, proof that she is really worried. This is it. I think. I’m a goner. Tell my brother I love him and I did not mean to raise my voice at him when he took the remote. Tell Dad I…

“Doesn’t look serious.” She lets go of my chin. “What did you do today?” she asks.

Woman! Don’t you see me dying? Call people! Organize a harambee for my hospital bill. We are not going to manage!

The frown is gone. This is the part in the movie when doctors tell you everything is okay only so they can go to the break room and draw straws on who will deliver the bad news. That’s what was happening. I was sure of it. I had the epidemic of The Measle she wanted wait until I was calm to give me the news. I sit down.
Calm down. Dying is one day, better get over with it. at least you’ll be famous for it. You’ll be the Van Gogh of The Measle. Dying is one day. You will get it over it. You’ve seen worse.

But you haven’t seen enough! You haven’t gone to Paris and stood touching the Eiffel Tower like those people who touch KICC. You haven’t lived off the ledge. You are still afraid of bugs and..

“Maybe it’s a spider bite,” she says.

I jump.
“Spider?” Where? Kill it! Slap it with a slipper. Spill its guts everywhere! Massacre! Death to all arachnids!
In my head, I have torches and machetes on this spider.

“Ruffle out your beddings tomorrow then we’ll see.”

Tomorrow

I rush to the mirror for The Measle inspection. Nothing on the face. Phew, dodged a bullet there. Run the tap to wash my face. Freeze.

We stand there, me staring at him and him at me. Another Western stalemate. I can’t look away. My heart races and skips simultaneously. I feel faint. I blink first because I am weak. The disease is getting to me. There, right at the foot of my thumb, is another one. Forehead measle brought a friend, or his kids. Two smaller lumps, side by side. I want to call out to mom, but she already left for work. The new thumb guys look like a pair of eyes staring at me, so I cut three sheets of tissue paper and wrap my hand.

I find my phone and dial.

“Yes baby?” because she almost always answers like that. I fear the original lump knew this so it brought its babies. A show of him not being the only guy in town.

“There’s another one.”

“What?”

“Another lump, Mom. There’s another one on my thumb. I sent a picture on WhatsApp. What should I do?” Will I die? In my laptop, my browser hist…

“Remove your beddings.”

She’s chasing me away? Without even saying it to my face. She wants me out. Wants me as far away from her people as I can be.

“Ati?”

“Toa beddings and ruffle them.”

Oh. The Measle syndrome must come with short-term memory loss. Long story short, I take my blankets outside, nothing. Ruffle them like my life depends on it. Nothing. I hang them on the line and get back. I stare at the sheets. the look lonely there, rumpled with no blankets to keep them warm. If this thing is causing as much trouble as it is, why isn’t it as big as I assumed?

Maybe, it crawls up walls and waits for me to get in bed… or it is the boogieman taking small bites of me and hiding under my bed. There’s nothing under the bed.

Open the wardrobe and check. I do and nothing.

I’m spent, scared and almost traumatized. I sit on the bed, then stand suddenly. Wouldn’t want my ass bitten off.

I should change the sheets. Lonely sheets are cold and may be lumpy. I lift a side and pull. There, with its 8 legs and ashy exoskeleton, sits a Wolf Spider. Of course I knew this after giving Google a detailed description and taking a photo of said thing in my bed. I don’t know if this was a prank or just fate to make me realize that moms are always right, but I’m never doubting my mom ever again.

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Judy

I can remember who scared you looked. Nice piece

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