Place Where You Live:

Albany, California

Sometime in September, the mosquitoes start visiting us at night. They come and surround the open skin–shoulders, neck, arms, face. Joe and Lorin and I wake and fidget, each in our own room, alternately passing each other on trips down the hall to the bathroom. We think maybe the mosquitoes are breeding on our roof, where it dips from age, but there has been no rain for a month and there are no puddles up there or in the potted plants around the garden out front. We ask neighbors and they say, No, heaven’s no, no kind of mosquito problem in their houses.

We set up our camping gear on our beds. Joe hangs his bug net, the one he uses when traveling in Tahiti. Lorin props his bivy sack on top of his blanket. I unfold the mesh frame of my tent and rig it to hooks in the ceiling. The flat floor of the tent rests on my sheets. I sleep curled up in my mummy bag.

In October, Joe figures the mosquitoes must be coming up from the bathtub drain. Kay calls and tells us she’s putting the house on the market. I come home from work on a Wednesday and there are three strangers walking around inside: two contractors and the realtor. No one mentions the camping gear. We speak only of the wonderful windows in every room and the cherry red kitchen countertops.