On the third and last leg of our flight back to the US, I tried to ignore the fact that there was something stuck between my toes. I watched a stupid movie starring Rainn Wilson, I took a nap, I ate another in-flight meal. But it was still there, that annoying lint or whatever it was, wedged between my big toe and my second toe. So finally I took off my left shoe and peeled off my fragrant sock, only to discover… nothing.
How could this be? I felt it, for sure. I looked around at the dark cabin. Was I dreaming? I looked again at my foot. It felt it, in the same way that I now feel the keys under my fingers.
At this time I noticed that I also had something stuck between the toes of my right foot, so I took off my shoe and my sock only to discover, to somewhat lesser surprise, nothing. What was this? Ghost lint?
And then I remembered that I had been wearing flip flops, the kind with the thing between the toes, for the vast majority of my time in Mozambique. Inside, outside, everywhere. I only took them off to shower or to sleep.
I’ve heard before of amputees who feel pain or itches in their missing limbs. How terrible, to have an itch that is impossible to scratch.