The Cockroach Chronicles or My Friend Hector

|Author: Even L.|

As of late I feel we have been facing many heavy issues that require a great deal of thought to approach appropriately. This has left me mentally exhausted, so I will not be talking about any of them with this post. Instead I am going to focus on a former roommate of mine.

When I first arrived at ISI, I entered my room under the pretense of it being empty. I would soon find out this was not the case. After returning from refilling my water bottle, I was struck with the horrifying sight of a quite large brown armored bug in the middle of the floor. It makes me feel better to imagine that there was equal horror from this cockroach as it immediately darted under my dresser.

This was our introduction. Instead of pursuing this creature, I decided that it would be far more unpleasant for me to acknowledge its existence. Out of sight, out of mind. That was my approach, however, my friend began to make this increasingly difficult.

Before I go further, I think, as a friend, it is only appropriate that I formally introduce my roommate. When I imagine him, the name Hector comes in mind. Why Hector? Why is it a male? Do cockroach’s conform to typical gender roles? I cannot answer these questions. Hector just felt right.

Hector seemed to want to test my patience. He continued to push the envelope of my hospitality. First, he would be on top my dresser when I arrived, darting away as I approached. Then, one night, as I exited another exhilarating bucket shower, I was startled to find Hector inches from my shoulder on the door frame. My heart skipped and I clutched for the non-existent pearls on my neck.

This was the end of our harmonious relationship. He crossed a line and I think he knew it. From here on, whenever I saw him, I lunged with the small bucket which doubled as my shower head. My hope was to capture him. We had been living together for a while and it I could not imagine killing him at this point. I told myself that it would be messy  and I did not want to stain anything. However, looking back on it, I did not want to admit how much I appreciated his presence. It is nice to be in a room with someone who you do not have to talk to, both of you just accepting each other’s company. A pure friendship, in many ways.

But he had to go. So, two nights ago when he crawled along the face of my dresser, I saw an opportunity. With the small blue bucket I lunged. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity and Hector fell terrifyingly close to my feet. I let out an inhuman shriek and flailed my feet about desperately. This piercing noise must have sent Hector into a panic, because instead of going for his usual and safe place under the dresser, he vanished into the bathroom.

I took a moment to collect myself. As I breathed heavily in and out, I slowly pushed the door further open and switched the light on. On my tip toes I carefully entered until I could see the whole room. Horrifyingly, Hector was nowhere to be seen. I turned slowly and the shadow of something in the corner behind the door caught my eye. Closing it further, Hector’s figure was fully illuminated. I struck forward but he was too quick. Moving with far more legs than I remembered him having, he ran along the wall to the large shower bucket.

Little did he know this would be his downfall. I carefully nudged this bucket forward with the smaller one extended as far away from my hand as possible, thinking only of all his legs. Finally, he came to into view but this time his creepy little legs were too slow. Trapped beneath the small blue bucket, he buzzed and seemed to throw his full weight against the sides. I held it down desperately as I reached for a stack of papers I had left just outside the door. Sliding this carefully under the bucket I began to drag Hector’s trap across the floor.

At the time it sounded to me as if I was dragging a body along the halls. Each slide echoed and I knew I could not keep this up or I would hear about it from Carmen in the morning.

In a panic, I flung my door opened and high on the excitement of the evening raised Hectors cage off the ground and sprinted to the dormitory door.

There in the doorway, illuminated by the persistently orange night sky of Bangalore, and likely getting eaten alive by mosquitos, I raised the blue bucket. For a brief second shear panic set in as I saw nothing on the paper. However, after a shake Hector toppled to the ground. He ran through my legs back into the halls. Somehow the fear I felt each time I saw him had vanished. Luckily for me he went the opposite direction of my room. He stopped his scuttle in the middle of the hallway on the edge of where the light could no longer reach him.

Maybe he thought of me there in the dark. I will be honest and say I had a moment of regret thinking of the now empty room I was to return to.

This exhaustive account of the night must be punctuated with a cliff hanger. Unfortunately, in my desire to slip into bed and forget this emotionally traumatizing evening, I missed something important. As I rose from my bed groggily at 11:30 am the next morning I noticed my door, slightly ajar. It had not been bolted the night before when Hector roamed the halls. I do not know whether that it is terrifying or comforting. 

At least I still have the ants. 

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