Little House on the Heide
Country Living!

We haven’t slept in the bungalow yet but we’ve cleaned it up enough to use. We don’t have a refrigerator so we fill the bathtub with cold water to cool drinks. Friends arrive and we drag out the long table Herr B left behind, eating an improvised feast in the setting sun: grilled meat and vegetables and crusty bread. We wear straw hats and drink wine. The kids have gone feral, jumping on the roof of one of the cars and hanging four at a time from the spindly branches of the walnut tree, which bend to the ground under the weight. I’m afraid they might snap. There is the sound of birds, a light breeze, the silver slice of lake in the distance. I am charmed by it all and yet somewhat disturbed at our sudden arrival in this lifestyle brochure.

After the friends leave I let the water drain out of the bathtub, fishing beer labels out with my hand and using the shower head to spray away bits of dirt. One speck won’t go down. It keeps swirling away from the drain. The speck turns out to be a mosquito, one of those wispy ones that hardly seem capable of life and are yet so persevering. Another mosquito joins it and even when I aim the spray right at them they somehow manage to stay out of the hole, rising up into the damp to continue their limping flight through the mist. Is there something here that’s worth the risk they’re taking, or are they just too dumb to escape?