I did not expect this in October. The bottom half of both my legs are covered in red swollen patches, and there’s another one, oddly, on my right jaw. I’ve always attracted mosquitoes, in fact as I was growing up they were the only things I could guarantee to attract every summer, through the early years of round glasses and pig tails, past my sulky phase and beyond the misguided era of Kappa tracksuits and giant hoop earrings. It seems I’m juicy meat for the little buggers whichever continent I’m on.
This morning I woke up at 5am to find myself scratching my legs furiously. It was awkward doing this under the duvet so I tried scratching with my toe nails, but this proved tricky as a lot of it is around the ankles, strange considering they’re the least fleshy bits. I let myself do this for a while, but I knew this would only make things worse so I stopped and lay still. On Monday evening when we were in a nice restaurant with a friend’s parents who happened to be in town, I’d scratched myself so hard under the table that I’d actually drawn blood, and I wanted to avoid getting any red stains on the bed sheets which would horrify the cleaners.
But then I started to think there was a mozzie in the bed, and suddenly I was very aware of my skin. Everything started to itch, my shoulder, the side of my eyebrow, inside my ear. Outside I could hear the whirring of construction equipment, the same sounds I’d fallen asleep to the previous night. The air conditioning was too cold as it usually is by dawn, so I shuffled deeper under the duvet rubbing myself against the bed.
Now I was willing DD to wake up so I could squirm freely. And also I was hopeful – DD has a talent for seeing and even hearing mosquitoes, and catching them too, surprising for someone who usually walks around unaware of things and has amusingly poor reflexes.
I should really go and buy bite cream, but I haven’t got round to it as I can’t help thinking that winter is just around the corner and the biting will stop. My friends’ photos of London have a definite chilly feel, with warm coats and crunchy leaves on the pavement. For the moment here in clammy Beijing, everything is still very much alive and skin is dangerously exposed, but surely it won’t be long before it plummets to minus ridiculous degrees and I’ll be trampling through the snow, my ankles more likely to be snapped at by migrating polar bears than pesky mosquitoes.
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