Spiders and Listerine

I pee at exactly 4 AM every day. Like clockwork, it’s as if my bladder has an appointment that I need to take it to the toilet so I can have better sleep if I only allow it to release all the fluids its holding. It doesn’t matter how sleepy I am when I get up, sometimes to the point of light-headed, dizzy, unbalanced, taking slow steps at a time, holding on to walls, figuring out shapes of what hangs on the wall using them as if they were the Braille system, a sign that I made it to my first lap and then only five more steps and I’m off to the door which we leave open right now so the airconditioner from the living room can travel from the living room, entering the hallway and some air goes to the space in the hallway and into our bedroom because it gets really warm in the night because right now summer is here and I’m afraid to open the bedroom window because I did that last time many times and many times I see spiders crawling up the ceiling, or to the wall on my right where I lay in bed, but they’re not together, I see only one spider at a time and it’s always when I open the windows at night or even during the daytime, it doesn’t matter but all I know is I’ve seen 3 spiders already, crushed one — the very first spider I’ve seen right between the sliding glass window and the screen and I slide the window so I crush the spider without thought yet without fail. I forget to mention that there could be more spiders that makes me wonder if that’s what bit my stomach three days ago but I can’t be too sure, maybe there was a bug, or maybe, I don’t know, a shirt splinter that pokes my stomach where I keep scratching until I fall asleep and then I wake up and I go to the mirror in the second bedroom — not a bedroom, it’s more like a walk-in closet but it’s a room — a bedroom but a black three-feet high chest drawer with an vertical mirror right above sits to the left corner of the wall while my office desk is to the right of it facing the left wall. I open my shirt in the morning in front of the mirror so I can see what in the world bit me — not that I’m going to see what bit me but how it bit me and I see a big red bump, not that big of a bump but a piece of bump that is red and circular, the size of a nickel and itchy as in it makes me wonder now really, what bit me? Is it a spider again or is it a bug, I wonder and then it reminds me of the time when I was barely 5 years old when my mother, my loving and caring mother who did not have Google but she knew what I needed when mosquitoes bite me in the night and there’s always a big bottle, the size of the gallon blue plastic jug I carry around nowadays when I want to drink lots of water but not really want but mostly need or remember that I have the jug and I need to drink 8 cups of water a day and it’s a big bottle of Listerine not because my parents were Listerine-gargling junkies but my mother was very strict about my toothbrush rituals and she makes me, insists actually, and she counts “1, 2, 3,” and if that doesn’t work calls me by my complete name, not call really, yell my complete name which is the sound that means she means business and I have to run now to the bathroom where she stands by the entrance door so I can pick up my mini-toothbrush from the medicine cabinet and stand on a stool so I can reach the sink on my own but she controls the amount of toothpaste so she has the Colgate tube in her hand and she squeezes it onto my tiny toothbrush that is parted in the middle like the Red Sea because I brush my teeth so hard because if I do it without pressure, I don’t feel clean so I brush them hard and then sometimes I hit my gum so hard and then my eyes water because I hurt my gum and then my mother stands behind me, stern and could be timing my brushing because sometimes my mother thinks I only swish-swish-swish brush my teeth and then gargle to finish, so I brush again and this time I swish-swish-swish-swishswishswishswish and then I gargle and then I gargle again and one more time because that’s for my Mama because her big rounded eyes never leave me, and no, I do not gargle Listerine, it is only used to cure my mosquito bites.

I go to the bathroom to see if there’s any alcohol because if I use alcohol there’s no need for me to buy Listerine but I go to the bathtub instead forgetting I’m there for the alcohol first because I’m running late and I must be at work by 8 AM so I forget to put alcohol after I’m out of the shower, after I dress up, after I put on my shoes, after I grab my keys, and still did not remember to put alcohol when I walk out the front door and lock the front door and walk to my car and open my car and drive and seven minutes later I arrive late in the office and I don’t remember the alcohol and I enter the back door of the office building, greet my Operations team a “good morning,” none of them were there actually, I just walked by every cubicle but my head wants to be in my office room fast as if it were a finish line as if someone will yell behind me, “Why did you just come in? It’s 8:01 AM!” and then I sit in my office chair, and then I fidget because that’s what I do when I’m not comfortable and then I touch the left side of my stomach, pull my shirt and then I feel a sting and then I remember I was supposed to rub alcohol on my red bump. I receive my first phone call and I pick up my cell phone, “Hello?” and then I forget about my red bump that forty minutes ago, I’m supposed to rub alcohol first in the bathroom.


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