I'm sitting in my wooden house, listening to the rain pebble-pound on my tin roof, knowing that same rain is sliding off the eaves and dumping all over my open downstairs living area, where it will arrange itself in a long, irregular rectangle along my kitchen wall. I know that tomorrow I will go downstairs and use my broom to sweep the water out into a thinner layer, one more conducive to drying and less conducive to breeding mosquitoes. I don't want dengue. The mosquito net draped over my bed and curling white around my pillows says the same thing- I don't want dengue.
There is a kitten in my lap that I didn't plan on having, but things like petulant meows radiating from rain soaked bushes in the middle of tropical thunderstorms happen here, so now there is a kitten in my lap and that is that. The neighborhood dogs are barking all around as they do every day when I walk to work and every night when I go to bed. This follows me as I drift off to sleep until the roosters take over in the morning, crowing in stereo. The intensity is a function of the fact that my walls are basically particle board nestled together in a way that isn't particularly concerned with being airtight; I can glance up and see a long ribbon of night between the wall and the pillar in the corner doing its part to hold up my house. In the corner a web waves in the breeze from the air conditioner, and a spider slides down on a long ta-da! of a single thread to, I imagine, get a better view of what he made. A gecko studs that same wall, its flat, stony looking body raised against the badly painted white. I think of the gecko, the spider, and the mosquitoes dangling in the air around me and remind myself to make food chains for my science class.
Inside my walls, but mostly in the attic above my head, creatures of indeterminate nature and number romp and roll and live out a rowdy, nocturnal existence. I haven't seen them yet, and I'm still undecided as to whether that is comforting or disconcerting. Right now, I can shrug it off as rats, but in the back of my brain, in the middle of the night when I hear them whipping through the walls and scritching with undefined claws, I conjure up random absurd and terrifying things that could be much worse. The kitten in my lap was justified as a preventative measure against whatever is up there, but she greets the noises by looking up at me, with a shiny wide baby eyed stare, for assurance that everything is okay. I don't think I can count on her.
I can't really say everything is okay, but I can say usually things are fine in the end, so we'll say everything is probably on its way to fine.
And now, Laos. And now, just me.