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Evicted by bedbugs

[Editor's note: Earlier this fall, Tyee Solutions Society put out a call for submissions asking residents to share stories of the renter life. The results exceeded expectations -- when people wrote about their home, they opened their hearts. The result is this occasional series of stories about life, from British Columbians who are living it as renters.]

Over that summer I drank Coronas on the balcony of our new apartment and watched the guys digging in the dumpster, their shopping carts stuffed with the building's discarded treasures -- old toys and clothes, broken CD players and vacuums. It was on one of those lazy afternoons that I noticed itchy bumps on my arms.

"Contact dermatitis," the doctor said, an explanation I accepted until I got home and looked it up. An irritation to the skin, but from what? Why didn't he ask about allergies or plants? New foods? Skin products?

I applied the prescription cream. I stayed away from suspicious plants. I didn't eat anything unusual. The bumps went away and new ones appeared.

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