Tuesday, 22 September 2009
I woke around five in the morning stung by a wasp – behind my right ear in the thin layer between skin and skull. Lin turned on the light, and saw the wasp in my hair. She batted it off with the edge of her Terry Pratchett paperback. It disappeared somewhere in the bedroom - buzzing. She peered at my head, administered sting relief. I took one of my antihistamine pills – alert to a reaction … what’s the phrase? apopletic clock, anabaptist shock, anapolectic reaction? I tried out the words I can never remember, but it involves going itchy all over, swelling up and other bad things that can kill. Once long ago a nurse told me, after I’d been wasp stung four or five times on my hand, that I’d only just made it to the village clinic in Lydbrook in time, to get an adrenaline jab and twenty minutes hand holding. It gave me a great appetite later. This wasp was still somewhere in our bedroom. We gazed and listened. The sting itself hurt only a little – a pinprick in the side of my head. Then I felt a small touch on my neck. “It’s back” I murmured, not wanting to make a fuss that might worsen the situation. I turned my back to Lin who swiped the wasp off and, armed with an aerosol spray – the same we’d used against the nest in the roof - zapped it to the bed where it writhed until I crushed it with the corner of my book – The Silent and The Damned by Richard Wilson. A tiny thing; so persistent in its intentions for me. It had stung me twice in almost the same place. “Take another pill to be safe” said Lin. I laid back and waited for the antihistamine to lessen the itching tingle gathering through my body. After a few minutes sensed the allergic reaction in retreat. I read a while and Lin lay awake beside me “in case you start dying”. By and large I have no animosity towards or fear of animals, duly cautious of the feral of course, alert to a very understandable habit of defending living space and the young against predators of which we are, by and large, by far the most dangerous. ('Cet animal est très méchant. Quand on l'attaque il se défend') But this seemed like an invasion; a revenge hit in the dark.