Monday, April 7, 2008

chaotic sleep

My wife and I bought a mosquito net, finally. We are living at her parents' place in Taiwan, waiting for her US visa to come through. Until a few days ago, we would get up grumblingly every time we heard a mosquito, turn on the flourescent light, and move about the room, searching. My eyes are better than hers; her hand is quicker than mine. We were a good killing team. But a few nights ago was insane. We killed one; then another; then another. After we had killed 5 or 6, we lay down, senses still straining for messages of trouble, only to hear new buzzings in our ears. I killed a couple more on my face (waiting for their beaks to sink into my skin) before succumbing to sleep.

The net is blue, and hangs like a wispy room within the room. We sleep on thick quilts on the floor, so the net hangs down around the quilts. The first few nights I tried to stay within the rectangular confines of the net, feeling my leg or head press up against it, well aware of where Yi-qian is lying to my right, on a big pillow. I am pillowless now. But last night we had some crazy sex, which threw our already habitual sleeping arrangements into chaos. I was lying cross-wise, which meant my feet were pressing against the net. I attempted to lie length-wise, but Qian was crosswise also, and was not moving. So I sort of angled my body partly across her legs until I was straight.

Across the piles of blankets I was only vaguely aware where she was. We rolled and shifted about, pulling on the net. But it was more resilient than I had thought. Our gauzy blue room-within-a-room only shook and fell still each time. Waking was so much funnier than usual, with each of us figuring out where the other was. Her mass of blankets moved petulantly and counter-productivly against the net until her head finally emerged with its mass of black hair. We have been married since August, but it is our first real taste of married life, since I have only returned to Taiwan a few weeks ago. And how real is it, anyway, with her mother cooking us splendid dishes every meal? Only last night did she allow me to wash the dinner dishes, standing restlessly behind me.

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