Measure your success in bat wings and lubricant
The omnipresence of bats has begun. I await the night and the wings that motor its coming. Their lateral spirals flush the day away through the Coriolis force of flapping. Craig once said my skillet of rough-torn collard greens looked like a pile of bat wings, and now I can’t cut the vegetal ribs without thinking of mammal bone and spread of skin.
I pressed my face to the screen of our bedroom window as the bats ricocheted circles in the twilight. To be so close but so separate, it was the thrill of safe observance. Two weeks later, I woke to the idiosyncratic sound of Bat; successive scrapes of electric sandpaper. I turned toward the same window I stood at weeks earlier, and through our diaphanous curtains I saw an elongated orb of contained night.
“Fuck,” I thought.
A gentle nudge to Jim and a whispered, “I think there’s a bat in our bedroom.”
Quick as a hot dawn we were up. We tag-teamed with the breeze and each other. If you create a draft, the bat will fly out on its crest. But the night was obstinate in its stillness and even with the front door ajar and another window open, the bat flew the perimeter of our room only to attach itself to the wall, a miniature inverted Buffalo who likely wanted to be free of us as much as we wanted to be free of it. As Jim tried to direct it downstairs, I stood on the porch holding the door open and being sentry to entry of more bats. Like Winnie the Pooh, I sleep nude except for a shirt. Even my half-nakedness wasn’t a relief from the humid heat.
The bat was as stubborn as the breeze, so we switched, and I donned winter boots, a parka, and a broom, trying to direct the bat down to Jim who took my place outside. After more failed attempts, we removed the screen from one of the windows and opened the upper double hung for Jim to finally guide the silence back outside.
It took another hour for me to fall asleep. The anxiety still charging me like currents and stampedes. I slept not in fetal, but in the efficient folds of the bat, my radial center pulled deftly in like origami.
I wrote to a friend the other day that billiard halls are good places for first dates because you can tell a lot about a person by the way they play the game and how they win or lose. It can similarly be said that how a couple handles a bat in their bedroom in the middle of the night says a lot about their relationship. We are well-lubed metal. But not a machine, something more organic. Flexing our sinuosity of respect and trust. Sharing our anxieties and status of power. Before being partnered, I thought a relationship’s success was based on sex alone, maybe it’s based on bats.