Last night was an odd night on the rue Mouffetard.
Nicolas came home from work around 8:30. Halfway through the door, he demanded, "did you see them? did you see them?"
"Who??" I asked, my voice rising to match his pitch of excitement.
"The bugs! they're all over the place! Look!"
We went to the window, and sure enough, it looked like a shower of golden dust was slowly wafting its way down from the heavens. Here, there, and everywhere-- little specks of light-colored insects giving the optical illusion that they were hanging suspended, when in fact the breeze was shifting them around. They dominated the air space as far as the eye could see in both directions.
I emitted a sound of disgust. "They weren't out when I came home before! Is this some kind of seasonal phenomenon that happens every four years or something, like caterpillars?" Memories flooded in of being a five year-old at Ivy League day camp on Long Island and shrieking my head off every day when I had to step off the bus and out into the forest, where every black line on the ground inched its furry body around, climbed trees, fell from trees into my hair, crawled inside my clothes, squished under my feet. If I'm not mistaken, that infestation was back in the summer of '83.
Nicolas just shook his head. "Dunno. Let's go eat."
We headed over to the nearby Italian place (Nona Ines-- if you're ever in this neighborhood, go there) and, since the heat was starting to break, took a table on the terrasse. I knew it was a mistake as soon as we sat down, but there was no more room outside. The bugs were everywhere. One led a kamikaze mission into my eyeball. I say kamikazi because I killed it, my hand flying up instinctively to protect mysely from the light foreign contact, but it probably didn't want to die. I wiped its carcass on the sheet of paper on the table and inspected it. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a little green winged creature. Pretty harmless. I felt mean for squashing it.
Over the course of the meal, I began to feel less badly; though the bugs were dissipating, they weren't exactly harmless. The food chain was in full swing: I ate my beef carpaccio, the little green bugs ate me. They began with my shoulder, somewhat bony but dressed with a lovely Acqua di Parma almond-scented oil. My elbows, both of them. Then they got fresh, flying inside my tank top, down my cleavage, and devoured the place where my underwire meets my ribcage.
The cheeky bastards. If they come out again tonight it's war.
When we came home we leaned out the first-floor window, looking down at the passersby. (That's right folks, look your best when you saunter down the rue Mouffetard, because there's a good chance Nicolas and I are above your head making fun of your outfit.) There was a storm moving in, and thunder somewhere far off, but the light was spectacular; it was ten o'clock at night but the light was tinted orange instead of blue. We both pulled out our cameras and snapped away.