Venice Nocturne 2: Indoors

Venice After Dark

It’s 2 am. My sister is asleep and has forbidden me from opening any of the windows in our hotel room. Mosquitoes will come in, she says. And she’s right. I mean, she is. And I’m not really forbidden, but we agreed on it.

Before we turned out the lights, we made a promise that if any mosquitoes buzzed around our ears in the night, we’d immediately turn the lights back on and kill them. We even kept the windows closed all day and swept the room beforehand. She found one and killed it, smearing its guts down the wall, just to have some visual proof of our diligence.

This was a really great plan, we thought: Keep the windows closed at all costs and be vigilant about stragglers after the fact.

The worst that could happen, she said, is that the room could get really hot. But we’d be mosquito-free—a quality that we agreed was more valuable than, say, being properly temperature-adjusted.

The mosquitoes kept us up the night before—you don’t even understand. Chewing away at our backs, risen up out of this sinking swamp of a city.

In fact, this was not the worst that could happen.

The worst that could happen was as follows: My sister, immediately before lights out, takes a sleeping pill. Which renders her unable to hear any buzzing mosquitoes (which appear out of nowhere, in my ear and not hers, as though they’d grown out of the wall like Darwin’s meat experiment). It also renders her unable to sense that the room is stifling.

I kill the mosquito. I cannot kill the hotness.

Which is why I’m sitting on the bathroom floor of a hotel room in Venice, Italy, unable to sleep, writing in the dark, not wearing any pants, unable to open any windows because we agreed, wondering how long I will keep this agreement, desperate for air, because really I’m older, waiting for morning, or for the pill to wear off, whichever comes first.

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One Response to “Venice Nocturne 2: Indoors”

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