Take 1: Fight or Flight
“When you turn the lights off, do things come out? Because I sleep with my mouth open.”
It was the end of the trip and that meant one thing: the Phnom Penh Hotel. The fancy hotel in the capital where we can actually use the water. It was our one night of near normalcy and comfort before making the very long trip back to the states. My sister and I begin the arduous task of unpacking to repack. How is it that dirty clothes always seems to expand and multiply?
I decide to take a break and brush my teeth. I’m in the bathroom when I hear a scream; never a good sign. I rush out, mouth foaming with toothpaste, as Autumn is yelling, “There’s a giant roach in my suitcase!” A stowaway from the village, no doubt. I didn’t see it until she makes one false, amazingly awkward move and manages to fling the massive cockroach onto her chest. Then it’s on: that wild, womanly dance of fear and shamelessness; when it’s female versus insect and the rest of the world, along with all dignity, fades. She’s jumping around and, before I know it, she’s on the bed; fight or flight combined into one hysterical, blonde mess. Funny how higher ground always seems safest no matter the circumstance.
Finally, the cockroach decides to save itself, loses his grasp of her now wrinkled and sweaty red shirt, and falls to the floor. We have no idea where he landed. We never saw him again. Although, I did find his much smaller but equally disgusting (thankfully deceased) cousin in the bottom of my bag when I got home…
Yes, Virginia, things do come out when the lights go out. Keep your mouth closed.