‘The Dead Water Bug’

There is a dead water bug on the kitchen counter.It is staring at me, mocking me and judging me.

I jump back horrified at the sight and I breathe deep because I know it’s just a water bug.

You stare at me from the doorway, talking me through the whole thing and calming me down, reassuring me that I can do this.

‘Just breathe’, you say.

I listen and take a breath as I boil the kettle and wait.

You stay with me as I watch the water bug just lying there. Still and unaware of its future. (We are similar in that regard and only in that regard.)

The steam rises and the kettle whistles. I breathe and slowly pour the scalding water on the lifeless pest.

The legs kick one final time.

It’s over. It’s dead. I pour a bit more water on it to be sure (because I am not sure of anything anymore.)

You tell me it’s fine and that I am safe. I put down the kettle and grab some paper towel to scoop up the remains and throw them in the bin. I disinfect and wipe down the counter top. I repeat aloud to myself “I am safe”, “Everything’s ok”, “I’m going to be ok”.

I turn around and you have left. You have gone to bed.

I breathe and repeat my mantra. I leave the kitchen and enter the bathroom. I wash my hands and scrub them raw. I look at myself in the mirror; I look tired in the dim grey light overhead the mirror.

I tell myself there are no more water bugs. I retire to bed knowing that there may be more water bugs tomorrow but at least I am prepared now.

“There will be no more water bugs tomorrow” I whisper to myself as I fall asleep.

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