Friday, April 29, 2005

My Fly is Open

There is a fly--a big, fat one pacing up and down the screen in my office window. He flew in a couple of days ago when the weather was nice enough to leave the back door open. I knew he'd head for the open window--they always do, stupid creatures, and once he landed, I'd slam the window shut and he'd starve to death in a day or so. The 'or so' deadline has come and gone, and the ugly little critter is still crawling up and down, back and forth on the screen, none the worse for wear. There are no signs of wasting, no limping, no gasping, no visions of angels and departed relatives. And there is no indication of hopelessness.

I'm tempted to reward this unusually hardy bug with freedom, but I'm more apt to just see how long he hangs in there.

He's near the top of the screen right now, wrapping his black little fly toes through the mesh, staring out at the cloudy sky, standing still. Every now and then another insect will land on the outside, and eventually fly away. This Duracell bunny of flies, looks imploringly in the direction of his liberated brethren. He's angling toward the top corner now, changing direction--his path is horizontal--he's heading north.

What keeps him going? He's mapped every inch of the screen in his wee brain, covered every tiny square, and has probably got some nice, thick callouses forming on his hairlike, itty-bitty feet. He's started downward, in a zigzag pattern, like something just occurred to him. An untried path, perhaps. Or maybe heights combined with hunger are making him lightheaded. He'll try something else.

I know what it's like to be so close to where I want to be, to be separated from where I belong by something as flimsy as a mesh screen, but woven just tightly enough to to keep me from moving through it. I know what it's like run in circles because I can't seem to find forward. I know what it's like to be smaller than everything else in this world.

In some of the screens in this house, there are holes or small places where the screen has come loose from the sill, and I don't feel bad about trapping bugs inside those windows, because if they look hard enough, they'll find the way out. It amazes me, that such meticulous and obsessive creatures like these find opportunities into the house, but seem to miss the cracks that would free them. I have sills full of crusty fly corpes. I wonder what goes through their heads when they notice the ossuary in the metal sill. Do they just give up? This one in my office hasn't.

He's climbing at an angle toward the top again. Stopping frequently, and for longer periods to just rest, and stare out at his old world, a world just out of his grasp, a world he can still smell and see, but can only touch with the very tip of his legs.

I hate flies. But I'm going to set this one free.



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