By Hannah S.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” I screeched.
A small black dot zoomed past my ear at the speed of light. I whirled around to find that a pesky mosquito had landed on the roof, far from my reach. My roommate, Izzy, was scanning the room for possible objects to destroy the insect with, while I was restraining myself from scratching the swollen pink lump on my arm. It had been a sleepless night, and the particular predicament we were in didn’t seem like it would improve.
Just a few hours earlier, Izzy and I were getting ready for bed after a long day at the Root-Seeking Journey Summer Camp in Xi’an, China. All of the summer campers stayed at the West Garden Hotel, and each person had a roommate to share a room with. However, my experience had already been quite the ride, because it had been thundering on the very day that my dad and I had planned to make our departure to China. Therefore, the plane was unable to bring us to the designated location on schedule for a transition flight, and my mom rebooked a ticket for the following day. When I arrived at the hotel, it was already 1 AM, and I was drained of all energy. So, my dad decided that it would be better for me to find my roommate later in the morning.
After I met Izzy, I went through all of the regular camp procedures for the day with my assigned counselor and group, and then it was finally time to sleep. Izzy and I decided to chill for a while by playing a few rounds of the game Mafia Mystery. In this social strategy game, innocent townsfolk are murdered by ruthless mafia each night, and it is the players’ jobs to figure out the true culprits in a puzzle of trickery. After racking our brains about the authenticity of statements made by various players in various tournament rounds, we finally decided that it was time to make an attempt to doze off into dreamland.
Little did we know, expectations of a typical day would be shattered like a vase of flowers crashing into the ground. During the brief time of that peace and sleep, some unknown entities would squeeze their measly wings into the proximity of the room and successfully disrupt a supposedly peaceful and normal day.
Buzz. Buzz. I tried to ignore the persistent noise as it echoed in my head. Buzz. As I groggily began to awaken, I blinked twice, staring at the white ceiling of the room. The world seemed to blur with a white flash of light and spin for a moment as I slowly rolled over.
Noticing that Izzy was also starting to wake up, I asked, “Did you hear that weird buzzing sound?”
“Yeah,” Izzy replied. “There’s probably a random bug in here somewhere. We can kill it later.”
Right as Izzy finished her sentence, I spotted a small mosquito clinging to the darkest corner of the bumpy wall, with its beady eyes looking at us as if it was saying, “muahahaha I will sting you.” Then, I spotted another mosquito, silently hiding on the bed stand. It seemed like it was pondering in its little brain about when to aim for a bite of fresh blood.
Suddenly, a thought came to our minds. Finding where the mosquito entered our room could be a massive solution to our dilemma. We could somehow get the mosquito to fly back out of the window and shut it right after. There was a dusty window located at the back of the room. While Izzy slid open the heavy glass door, it made a loud creaking sound as we stepped up to the window. I immediately noticed that there was a tremendous gap between the bottom of the window and the window frame. I shivered as the cold winds of the silent night blew directly inside, and I could faintly see the streets below, illuminated in the dim street lights.
Without thinking, I yanked the window towards the frame with all my might, and instead of locking it back in place, it made a loud crack.
“Oh, shoot. Now what? I think this window is permanently damaged now,” I stuttered.
“I mean, when I came over here earlier, I also tried to move the window, and it was stuck,” Izzy replied.
Inside, I was having sort of a mental breakdown. We would probably have to pay for the damage done to the window, and we had to deal with blood-sucking bugs. This was just great. A mosquito suddenly flew past my shoulder.
“Ack!” me and Izzy both yelled at the same time.
With the entire building of people sleeping, Izzy and I didn’t have any alternate escape routes to avoid an unplanned mosquito infiltration. Our immediate thoughts were to wake up one of the camp counselors, but we didn’t want an infuriated or baffled adult waking up to a simple mosquito problem in the dead of night. Despite our bad luck, a wave of relief washed over us as we realized that we also hadn’t been reported for making banging noises and stomping on floors to escape pests that are less than half the size of paper clips.
Once again, I internally panicked. What should I be doing? How do we get rid of these stupid little pests? How can I be helpful? All the pressure in the world seemed to be collecting in my brain, so I decided to contact my mom via FaceTime to ask for further assistance. Since she was still in the United States, the thirteen-hour time zone differences meant that she was probably awake and working remotely in the comfort of our house.
I quickly turned on my old iPhone 6s and anxiously tapped the FaceTime app. It seemed like time was ticking as slow as a snail as I searched for my mom’s contact profile and pressed the video call button. I held my breath as my phone continuously beeped.
“Hello?” asked a familiar voice. My mom had picked up the call!
“Hi Mom! So, Izzy and I have this mosquito situation here where our hotel room window broke, and a whole swarm of mosquitoes invaded the room. We’ve been panicking the entire time, and what should we do?!” I squeaked.
“You can just spray on some bug spray and grab a random object that can deal damage to bugs. Mosquitoes aren’t that bad, and they shouldn’t leave an everlasting effect on your life. There are many more tedious obstacles in your future than a mosquito biting you. Think about it, you made a small speech for the Winter Festival at school in second grade. Even though you were shaking the whole time, you made it through without a single mistake, so you can deal with two or three mosquitoes. Take a moment and calm down.” my mom calmly replied.
Suddenly, I was hit by a pang of realization. I had faced way more complicated circumstances than a mosquito attack, and effects of some of those situations affected me in substantial ways. This was just a simple bug scenario that I was overthinking. Besides, mosquitoes were just trying to survive, just like humans. I refreshed my brain and told myself repeatedly in my mind that it’s going to be okay, and listened as a mosquito buzzed faintly behind me.
Snapping back to reality, I replied to my mom saying: “ You’re right, we need to get over this situation and somehow get rid of the mosquitos. Hopefully, there won’t be any more undesirable results. Thanks!”
Hanging up the call, I suddenly felt like the situation was not going to turn out as bad as I had thought.
“Now, what should we do?” I asked.
“I don’t know, let’s just try smashing at random directions with like, a shoe or something,” Izzy replied. “We have to deal with this, and everything shouldn’t turn out that bad.”
Mustering up the little courage we had, Izzy and I sprayed on some cheap mosquito spray and prepared our “weapons” for the ultimate showdown. We heard a faint buzz coming from the roof, and our first target was secured. Grabbing my dusty pink Nike shoe, I swatted towards the air while nimbly hopping around in hopes of taking down the primarily disturbing pest. Izzy stood around the glass door preventing the mosquitos’ escape, ready to strike at any moment.
After multiple swats and leaps, the first mosquito still had not been crushed into smithereens. Due to our lack of height, we tiny humans were stuck hopping on the ground, while miniature bugs could soar into the air and reach impossibly high points of elevation. Suddenly, the mosquito descended from the cracks in the roof and landed right above the ancient wooden bed stand. In an instant, I grabbed my pink Nike slipper and smashed as hard as I possibly could.
SPLAT! A black and brown splotch of mosquito guts landed on the wall.
“YAY!” I exclaimed. “That’s one mosquito, but how many more are even in this room?”
“I dunno,” Izzy responded. “I think I saw two more in here. Hopefully, we can do this!”
Time started flying by as we swatted at more mosquitoes. After what seemed like an eternity, no mosquitoes were squashed, but there were no signs of any remaining bugs in the room.
Exhausted from the irritating attack, me and Izzy finally flopped down on our blankets; the fight had finally resulted in a victory. Verifying the time on our iPhones, we noticed that it was already 5 AM, and, to celebrate the victory, we each devoured a bowl of cup noodles, savoring its spicy flavor.
Fortunately, after reporting the situation to the camp counselors later in the day, all was calm and all was bright. Izzy and I didn’t have to worry about the condition of the window. The scars of the battle remained for a week, with my left eyelid particularly swollen and droopy for two days. I jokingly considered it as “badly applied pink eyeshadow.” Camp activities continued, and hotel workers managed to repair the dislodged window back to tip-top condition.
Recalling the events of the great mosquito invasion, Izzy and I still laugh about it to this day. After calming down and not panicking as much, everything turned out well in the end.