When I was nine or ten, I visited my maternal grandmother’s house during the summer break. While we were having dinner together, I noticed a new electronic device attached under the kitchen sink.
“What is it?”
“Oh, this is a device to prevent cockroaches from coming into this room,” answered my aunt. “Unfortunately, we are currently having a cockroach problem in this house.”
I had only heard about cockroaches, but whenever I heard about them, they were in a bad context.
“Are they dangerous?” I asked.
“No, not dangerous,” said my aunt. “But you may encounter them while you are staying here. They’re quite big and move very fast. You might be surprised.”
I imagined large insects moving fast inside the house and felt uncomfortable, even a little bit scared. I certainly didn’t want that kind of surprise during my stay.
After I heard about cockroaches, I became hypervigilant, especially in the evening. I avoided darkness as much as possible, and when I had to use the dark corridors, I moved fast – like cockroaches.
One evening, I was moving from one room to another quickly when I came across my grandmother in the hallway, walking with tissue paper in her hand blowing her nose. Then I saw her suddenly stop in the middle of her step. Her eyes were fixed on a dark spot on the floor.
“What is this?”
Before I could warn her of the potential danger, my grandmother bent over, reached her hand with the tissue paper and caught that black spot in one swift move.
“Oh, it’s a cockroach,” she said and rolled the tissue paper into a ball before putting it into the pocket of her apron.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. My grandmother had just caught a cockroach with only one hand in tissue paper that she had been using to blow her nose! Her movement was so casual that even the cockroach didn’t have a moment to notice what was going on.
I was so impressed by my grandmother’s casual bravery that from that evening on, I became much less afraid of encountering cockroaches in the house.