One day my sister and I went to the woods to pick wild berries on a very hot day. To tell the truth, I did not want to go, but I said, "OK, Irina, let’s go. Some fresh air will be good."
"What is this?" I suspiciously pointed at something looking like an old rug that my sister put on as soon as we left the car.
"This is my raincoat. You should put one on too. Mosquitoes could be really bad in the woods at this time of the year." I forgot all about nasty creatures! I put the raincoat on.
"What is it now?!" My older sister handed me a can. "Lydia, now you have to spray your face and hands with repellent."
"Oh, no! I’d rather die. It is enough that I wear this ugly raincoat. I can hardly breathe in it!” I hated even to touch the bottle! But you can’t argue with my sister - a chemist and a wild berry guru. We always had the most fragrant jam at her popular parties.
"Oh, gush! I am poisoned! I can taste the repellent on my lips and my tongue... well, thank you very much - it goes down into my throat now!" The spray smelled like the gas that we studied in our civic defense class under the topic of chemical weapons - so I knew that the spray was not just poisonous it was deadly poisonous!
It was hot and humid even without the raincoat! But under it I was sweating like in a sauna, inhaling more and more of the spray but still trying to focus my attention on the berries, the only thing that still looked positive. It didn’t work really well: all I was able to think of was the poison that ran down my cheeks with the sweat straight into my open dry mouth. The mosquitoes - they cared less for the repellent and bit every inch of my open body. My face started feeling much bigger because of the bites. My skin itched and as I scratched it, I rubbed more and more of the poisonous chemical into my pores.
In the woods, I am always afraid of a potential criminal behind the trees. So, I tried to pick up the berries, almost crawling in the long raincoat, sweating and trying to check what is going on behind me - all at once. I did not want to be killed by some crazy guy with an ax. You know all those horrible childhood stories! Three hours later I was exhausted! I did not see the berries through my sweaty tears! I was too preoccupied with the mosquitoes, the sweat and the potential danger looming in the woods. The bottom of the one-gallon jar was hardly covered with berries, but at least my adventure was over.
I found Irina looking ecstatic! She bragged, waving her jar full of delicious looking and wonderful smelling berries in front of my silly face. What a reward for a unique ability to ignore the secondary.