There are bites on me which are driving me crazy. I don’t think they are mosquito bites. They are out of season. Mosquitoes are a summer complaint, as I have seen them almost every year in Provincetown, flying low and slow, filled with my blood and heavy and probably half drunk from it. These you have to just kill or they will bite you again and again. You can’t trap them in cups and free them outside like spiders or guide them away with a diversionary sweet like ants or fruit flies. They make a red brown stain on the walls when hit with a rolled up newspaper that isn’t their blood, but your own.

I am greatly allergic to the bites, and they swell up insanely huge and hard into hives as if I am armored and it’s both terrifying and disgusting. The bites I have now don’t seem to be from mosquitoes, as they aren’t all throbbing and oozing and painful, however they are itchy, reminding me of their presence underneath shirts and pants, in sets of three and four, tiny red dots that grow larger if I even dare to touch them. The poison explodes underneath my skin if agitated from without, so the trick is to never touch the bite, never open the skin so that the irritants can spread. Ignoring the problem is the only solution to the problem and this I know but cannot commit to because it fucking itches.

Often I don’t even see the bites, because I’m so covered with tattoos that the welts don’t announce themselves within the images on my person. I can feel them though, insidiously disguised as the vague discomfort even a fully healed tattoo is capable of, the ink in the skin still considered a foreign body by the immune system, which after years raises hard outlines in a last ditch effort to push it out.

There must be something in my bed but I look and look and look and there is nothing there. Maybe it’s so small I cannot see it. They could be fleas although I just did a thorough flea treatment which even included a trip to the vet and forcing the dogs to be sequestered outside for a full hour. The little Chihuahua stared at me through the window of the door not believing she was shut out. Of course I am way too co-dependent of a dog mom and sat on the other side of the door trying to assure her it was ok and likely making everything a whole lot worse and way too emotional for everyone.

Its odd to me that dogs will live their whole lives outside, which to me contradicts the purpose of pets. How do you hold them to your body if they are outside all the time? Where is the comfort and communion that comes from communal living with animals? My dogs go outside to conduct their dog business and the timely transactions of poo and pee and of course for walks and runs and hikes, but that is about all that happens out of doors. The rest of our relationship unfolds on the couch or the bed, where they are not only welcome, they are intensely needed, but that is also probably why I have these bites.

5 thoughts on “Bites

  1. I think your bug bite problem boils down to race: Half an hour later they’re hungry again.

    I hope this does make you laugh. It pisses off my wife, Irene Namkung, even while she’s laughing at it, even though it is now a fifty year old family joke. Her father is Korean, her late mother was Japanese, and she was born in Shanghai during WWII. Her parents had no where to live in Asia after the war because of their mixed ethnicity, so they came here. The US Migra spent 8 years trying to deport them, but, fortunately for me, they failed.

    I find that people under 40 can’t get the “half an hour later they’re hungry again joke.” And, of course it relates specifically to Chinese food. That is the subtext of the joke, since when people hear Irene was born in Shanghai, they assume she’s Chinese, and we joke about that. Part of what makes it funny is that the US is one of a few countries that automatically grants citizenship to anyone born here even if both parents are foreigners.

  2. Sounds like you might have bed bugs. With all your traveling, it wouldn’t be a surprise. They like to crawl into your luggage and/or clothes and then make your home, home.

  3. I hate to say this but could they be bed bugs? Is this a house you’re staying in temporarily or one you just moved to? I also know you travel a lot; could have picked them up from a hotel in your luggage. They are very small – and only (usually) come out to bite at night.
    I had them at an apartment I was renting for a few months – the furniture came with the place bed included. Ugh. It was horrible and I was the only one being bit – they left my BF totally alone apparently. I don’t know if they were already there, or migrated from another apartment or what but the whole place had to be fumigated repeatedly and the landlord wouldn’t get rid of any of the furniture. I spent a fortune on cleaning clothing/bedding.
    I moved after that and have been somewhat paranoid since. Rightfully so!

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