I fumed as I shifted my weight from left to right, halfway up to the attic.
My husband had left the ladder down, and it blocked the hallway nearly completely. Trying to squeeze around it for the fifth time that day, I decided to bring the damn boxes left in the hall up to the attic myself.
I am fearful on ladders, even ones of just a few feet, so I ignored the little itch I felt on my wrist. I slowly moved up each step, struggling with a box that was a little too big and a little too heavy to make this easy.
He was going to get an earful when he got back, that was for sure. He suddenly decided to get off the couch and leave the house? I took another step, concentrating on staying in balance. What’s that little tickle?
My husband was down the street taking a walk with our toddlers, so I was doubly annoyed that he didn’t hear me grunting as I tried to carry the boxes up the rickety stairs. I felt an itchy flutter.
I shifted my eyes from my feet to my left wrist. It took a moment to process what I was seeing.
Red light crashed in on my senses. Whant–wahhh, whant–wahhh, whant–wahhh! Vision blurred, elbows locked, scalp of icy tightness, gut-punched, too-loud alarm! Run. Run. Run.
My system overloaded as I saw the long, narrow-waisted demon crawling on my hand. A wasp.
My memory’s a blank as to how I got down the ladder with the heavy box, out the door, across the yard.
I came back to myself running down the street to my husband and seeing his puzzled look. He was holding hands with our sweet boys. I was gasping, unable to explain the panic, trying to slow my pummeling heart. I held him tight while my breathing slowly returned to normal. I drew the three of them in close.
I have never been inordinately afraid of bugs before or since, but in that moment, I felt the deepest terror I have ever known.
My husband put the boxes away himself.