The water works in the town has been under repairs for the last month. Before last month, we used to get water twice a day. For an hour in the morning between 6 and 7 am and same in the evening between 6 and 7 pm.
A woman comes in every weekday to clean up the house and fill the buckets with water.
Since the water stopped running regularly, she has still filled the buckets as normal so I haven’t bothered to ask where she gets the water from.
Last Sunday evening, I get home late, stinky and sticky. I pop into the bathroom to take a shower and did my regular thing where I put some disinfectant in the water, leave it to settle in while I brush my teeth and putter around.
On this night, while brushing, I bend down and take a closer look at the bath water in the bucket and see little things darting around inside. They looked like skinny black maggots, about five of them moving around in short lazy spirals underwater oblivious of the disinfectant cloud spreading in the water.
I freak out.
We have no electricity so half my showers are in the dark and I don’t look at my water everyday. So how long have I been bathing in larvae water!?
A week? A month? Just today? I don’t know.
I doused the water with two extra capfuls of disinfectant and watched. The larvae just continued as if nothing had changed. I observed them for 15 minutes, dance in their circles, imagining them darting around on my skin, sticking to my hair, inside my mouth…
It was late at night, I was exhausted and clueless about where to get more water.
I don’t know if I should be ashamed of the fact that I was still going to use the water for my bath, or if I should be proud of the fact that I was hardcore enough to still use the water for my bath.
But yes, I used it.
I scooped the water out bowl by bowl into a different bucket, checking each scoop carefully for squibs. I took the final maggot-free bucket and added disinfectant till there was more disinfectant in it than water, then I had my bath with that strong-smelling, skin-burning concoction.
The next morning I wake up with these little bumps on my back and they itch like hell. If I stretch my hand behind me, I can feel them but I don’t have mirrors so I can’t tell if they look like pus-tipped protusions with a hard centre and the hint of something lying dormant inside.
I woke up tired and I can’t tell if it is because I went to bed late or if something is sapping my strength to grow its young. All through the day, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m incubating these things under my skin just waiting for them to hatch.
By evening, they had multiplied. Little itchy bumps running all down my back, lining my spine. Larger than mosquito bites, more like boils. I have a ruler and I use it to scratch and poke at them, but I am sleepy. I am so soo sleepy.
As I crawl into bed, I reach behind me and I stroke my babies.