It’s like they have never even looked throughout their own history. Have these relationships ever worked? Isn’t the concept of a relationship just an abstraction—aren’t they just like us, animals? Just here to pro-create and survive, and that’s it. Part of this kingdom of fauna and flora. I may only be a bed bug stuck on a rug in the middle of a cold concrete floor, surrounded by a dangling bar, but when these bipedal, upright warm-blooded animals file in and start drinking out of bottles and glasses filled with colorful brews, oh! Is it like being at a zoo!
“Hmm… Hmmmmm… Hmmmmmmmmm,” I hear the background music groove to the ample feelings that exude from humans, which are masked behind the musk and pheromones.
It has been oddly slow, the rustling of footsteps back and forth, the swooshing of clothes, the loud mumblings of life; there is none of that happening. To me that’s kind of sad, I like the hoopla, no, I certainly relish it. I fantasize I can be part of it, well I kind of am, but meaning to be a part of it in a way that they know that I exist down here. Where I can scream like them, have pleasure like them, get mad and offended like them, but even so, I still can’t see why they try these relationships, and I don’t envy them in that regard. I’ve seen enough of them ending in this place. These relationships. Ending porously as well. The tension, the water-works, the flaring of body parts. It doesn’t look fun at all—and even though I think I may have even been a human in a past life—this is when I’m glad to be a bed bug going about its business, under the radar.
I have no compulsion to feast on humans. I know this is my nature, this was what I was taught, this is the major way I need to survive, but I don’t. Look at me, the irony. Here I am talking about how humans don’t follow some type of natural order, and I’m doing the same thing. But I do need any blood to keep me going, and besides nipping at a cat that sometimes sleeps on this rug, I usually ration the blood that drips onto the rug from one of the humans carrying food or meat to and fro the back of the place or house they call it, where all forms of smells come from.
I take a big gulp of the blood I’ve been rationing. It’s getting dry. A stale, overly-metallic taste consumes me. Not that sweet-suckle tasting blood I had last month. That taste has lingered with me. I’ve wondered if that could have been human blood because of how different it tasted. I will never know and nothing compels me to know or want to jump on a human tomorrow to feast on them. Whatever blood is here is good enough and I’ve had my portion.
I do my daily trek along the rug, and look at the different artifacts around me. From crusty table crumbs, to an elastic substance that absorbs moisture, to rubbery substances, to various types of clothes, to foam fizzing that spills from the liquid in the mugs of humans that look like their piss. I’ve wondered for the longest if that’s their own piss they are drinking. I hope so because that’s more interesting. Nevertheless, it’s spectacular how there is always something new to see. Sometimes I spend my days looking up to the sky to see if something drops from above. Today a sticky and gooey substance dropped onto the rug. And it looks like it is stuck on the rug. It looks like a mountain of pink with a mucous-like layer around it, and a tropical smell to add. I want to climb it and feel like a conqueror, but I’m afraid I will get stuck. So I leave it alone and have another image to look at on this rug that I’ve called my domus.
This rug has been here since the inception of the establishment it seems. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t get touched, it’s placed in an area where it can be forgettable, and blends in. I’m lucky for that. Lucky the people who own or run this place don’t care. They like it disheveled, at the brink of disgust, or it’s aesthetically chosen to be this way. Many humans who careen through the jangle I hear when they are fumbling inside from the reality outside this place appear like they are on the brink as well. On the brink of losing it, on the brink of finally having it all, on the brink of one of those relationships. Those specific relationships that mean so much to those two humans even though other humans are around them. I mean, forget that one and choose another one. There are so many! How weird. Is it not that easy? Then again, there are many different expressions of humans I see. Maybe one is not compatible with all. Maybe one is not compatible with any… And are these hook-ups not fulfilling enough? How come for some of them it’s easy for them to hook-up while others it’s a struggle even if they’re desirable? But isn’t it still just nature, instincts and nothing else? I think that’s why I heard a person say, “I wish I can change my personality, be more like them, fuck whatever passes my way.”
And yes, even in my young existence and having a lot to learn about their words and mannerisms, I can fully understand these humans. Can’t explain it—this sentience—a form of transmutation of intelligence perhaps. Nevertheless, it is not that surprising to me as much anymore. Only when the voices of a Good Morning! wake me up. At that moment, it’s like I imagine they are talking to me when they are not.
I listen to the fumbling of plates and a conversation of last night’s ongoings. But the thing I remember last night was how they didn’t even acknowledge each other. These two, that I know have been following their instincts together for a month or so. But last night they didn’t even speak a word to one another. Not even a wave or a greeting… not even a head nod. Do I think if their time is done with each that they should move on? For sure! The natural way! Although, there were a couple of times where they just stared at each other. Their eyes filled with an uncontrollable wanderlust, and this need for closeness. More than bodies in a sexual fever… but a companionship? Or are they kidding themselves? I think they are kidding themselves. The horny beasts that riled up in them was what was controlling them and winning out. It always wins out. One and done and on to the next…
They’re called the Honeymoon Couple, or that’s what I’ve heard people call them. They have been together for at least over five years I gather, and have been regulars for what I assume as long. Maybe even longer if they originally met here. They are called the Honeymoon Couple both in a jesting and admiring manner. More admiring than anything else. They’re no different than any other human look wise. Pretty unassuming, but for some reason people know they are there. They have an energy about them. And not to say I’ve never seen them argue or get angry at each other, but they seem to always pull back together… committed strongly. I remember one of their friends saying, “You guys have some type of magic, some type of sorcery that makes yous stick together.”
And they just shrugged it off and laughed as if agreeing with the sentiment, but underneath it all they really didn’t know why they were there for each other so much so… just are.
And the way they tease and tug at each other like it’s still fresh says a lot as well. To me when I see them, they’re an exception, not the rule. They are the anomaly in the pattern. And today that anomaly seems like the pattern caught up to them.
When I can taste a dog’s blood in the air from what I assume is an open wound it’s human owners aren’t aware of, or the dog itself doesn’t care about licking it, I see the Honeymoon Couple at The Lover’s Quarrel Table it’s named. It’s a small table that rocks to a side when a person leans their forearms on top of it, with two old chairs that appear like they will collapse on themselves with one wrong movement. It’s a little farther from the bar, but in perfect earshot of the rug or my domus. Not to mention it’s one of the few tables I have complete view of from here.
They sit down almost cautiously. Their movements reluctant, each of them having their own mannerisms of not wanting to be there. They don’t say a word to each other, and barely look at each other. Each minute seems absolutely painful. They manage to each talk to the person who brings them food and drinks, and then they go quiet again. It is almost beyond hard to look at for me. On one side because it is boring, but on the other side because I actually feel terrible and don’t know why.
When another minute ticks away, someone finally says something.
“Are we going to talk about this?” he says.
She shakes her head in agreement—barely. He acknowledges it in a way that appears to me like he didn’t want to acknowledge it in the first place. As if she wasn’t going to agree at all. As if that’s what he wanted. He struggles with the next thing to say.
She says instead, “Just tell me what’s on your mind. We’ve been honest with each other throughout this entire time together, now we’re going to stop?”
He glares at her still struggling. It’s like he is choking on his words. They then really look at each other for the first time, and I can feel heavy emotions pour from them even if it does not come out physically or outwardly. When he finally speaks again, he does with a care to his voice.
“Isn’t this thing we do just luck?” he asks.
She looks at him inquisitively and says, “What thing we do?”
“Relationships! Isn’t a good, somewhat healthy relationship together just luck… The timing, the right connection… the lifestyle…” he chokes on his words. “Lucky… it feels that way.”
“Then we’ve been lucky.”
“Though, I guess not anymore.”
They both look defeated. They stop talking and look down when a couple of people pass them. They hold on to their cups as if needing a distraction.
“Remember what we said to each other, that if we felt our lifestyles tearing us apart from each other we would consider breaking up. And this year, I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this tearing,” he says.
“Lifestyle is one of the most important things in a relationship, right?!” she answers.
“Granted we get to choose and live one, and we are not starving somewhere… yeah…”
She again shakes her head in agreement, even more sincerely, but I can feel this searing pain coming from her—as well as him.
“This was good… wasn’t it?” she asks.
“And we tried… didn’t we?”
“I think more than we know.”
She looks at him and gets up, and leaves. Her arms folded, her posture hunched, her footsteps fast. She is gone.
He looks dark, his thoughts entrenched in the depths. He waits at the table looking around him, peering at things that seem pointless. He avoids eye contact with anybody else. It is like he is not really there. He takes another couple of glares at what I assume is the front door, maybe to see if she is going to come back. Then he gets up, pauses, checks his pockets, groans and leaves. He is gone. The Honeymoon Couple is gone.
Before I can digest what happened and ruminate more on these fascinating human relationships, I see a large shadow slowly cast over my rug. It’s a person with a type of seating pad in their hand. I can see from here they’re flipping it in their hands inspecting it thoroughly.
“What’chu doing?” a man’s voice asks the person with the seating pad in their hands.
“Looking for bed bugs!”
My body suddenly rushes with this unparalleled vigor. “Did he say what he just said?” I ask myself… “Bed bugs?!”
“Bed bugs!?” the man’s voice bellows out, “Fuck!”
“Yeah, Raul said somebody came in complaining they got the bed bugs from here and showed them the bites on their arms,” the person with the seating pad says.
“Couldn’t they have just got it from somewhere else?”
“I don’t know man, I just started working here, but if it’s true, they better do something about the problem.”
“Absolutely, won’t come back drinking here for a while.”
“Wouldn’t blame you,” the person with the seating pad says and starts patting the seating pad as if it is a way to clean it.
“Do you see anything?”
“Not to my eye. Plus, this coloring makes it hard to see little ass bugs.” When the person pats it hard for a third time, I start to see bed bugs raining down from above me and the rug, and hear their voice saying, “Shit, I think that’ll do.”