Several years ago, I visited Jamaica with the woman I was then seeing. An academic transplant to the states, she was a native who was thoroughly familiar with the island and utterly fearless, at least so far as introducing me to her home. When I arrived, she had already been there a few days and had made plans for us to stay at a villa on the north coast, well outside of the traditional tourist areas. In the lilt of her newly reasserted patois, she told me about the place, and how she intended to make the absolute most of our time there together.
It was lovely. We spent most of our time sneaking onto private beaches, hanging out at shanty bars along the main road, and getting ourselves invited to some very unusual feasts.1 The week was nothing short of an orgy of the senses.
After one particularly riotous debauch2, I woke to a brilliant morning. The sun was shining, a wind blew through our open window carrying the scent of wild spaces into our bedroom. I lay there, eyes unopened, reveling in the feeling of having absolutely nothing to do except maybe getting up and going for a quick swim. I noticed Michelle playing with my hair, and I thought nothing could possibly be better.
It took me a little while, but I began to realize that since we were spooned together with her facing away from me, it would be tremendously awkward for her to be playing with my hair. As the sensation continued, the realization quickly morphed into a sense of wrongness, which rapidly devolved into stark white horror. I leaped from the bed with ninja-like grace3 and looked down to see one of these poking around on my pillow. It had to have been a good ten inches long4, and it had been trying to crawl on my head. Without thinking, I grabbed the pillow, went over to the open window which had apparently let in something other than a warm, pleasant breeze, and shook our visitor back outside.
Michelle woke up right about then to ask me what was the matter. I figured that there was no sense breaking another's morning reverie with my natural encounters, so I told her nothing. I did fill her in later. She didn't leap like a ninja, though she did think it fairly funny that I had.
1In one case, several families who were in the process of making curried goat on one of the beaches over an open fire invited us to return in several hours to join them. There was singing, roti, and a great deal of Red Stripe.
2I remember a great deal of Red Stripe, a great deal of smoking, and a great deal of amazing sex that was likely witnessed in full by our houseboy.
3By which I mean to say that I managed to not knock everything over.
4By which I mean to say that it was probably the biggest bug I'd ever seen, or have seen since.