Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cucaracha versus Dena

November 30, 2005

I woke up to the feeling of something moving back and forth over my leg. In my semi-conscious state and with my eyes still shut, I lazily lifted my sheet up from me in an effort to flick off whatever it was that was bothering me. I was on the verge back to sleep when the same back-and-forth motion started over my legs again. After a few seconds of just lying in bed in my somewhat delirious state, I realized that this sensation was not stopping.

Suddenly, in a panic, I opened my eyes. In the darkness, all I could see was a black creature over my sky-blue sheets. My first thought was that this was a small mouse and that I was going to die from some disease that mice carry. So, I screamed and jumped up onto my feet and flung my sheets up to hurl this pest off of me. From my bed, I examined the floor in an effort to find the culprit that had awoken me.

But, I saw nothing, and truthfully, I did not even know what I was looking for. Then, in the corner of my right eye, there it was—a gigantic cucaracha on the pillow on my bed. It just stood there righteously, staring at me. It was as though this creature wanted to start a fight. If it could talk, it probably would have told me, “Who do you think you are throwing me over here like that? You’re in MY territory. I was here before you?” But, luckily, this cucaracha did not speak.

It flew across the room to spite me, I believe, to let me know who the boss was, but I was not having that. I mean, I’m Dena from the block. I have seen my share of cockroaches in my childhood—so many that my older sister started to name and to talk to them in our run-down building in the Bronx. I knew that I could handle this cucaracha no matter how huge and talented he seemed. I was not going to let him win.

When this pest landed on the dresser, I stepped down from my bed and armed myself with the Gravis flip-flops I bought on sale from Middlebury’s Forth-N-Goal Sports Shop. I snuck over to him and watched him. I contemplated my and his next move. Then, BAM, I smacked him hard enough to hurt him, soft enough to allow my host family to continue sleeping peacefully. He fell onto the floor in a panic. His legs that once walked over mine were now dislocated. I used the same flip-flops that smashed him to sweep him outside my room. I closed my door, went back into my bed, and murmured to myself, “Now, who’s the boss, Mr. Cucaracha?”