After I Killed A Mayfly Today

There was a period in my childhood in which the death of any creature – even an insect - was a traumatic event. Today I wondered where childish notions live when they're gone, and what makes them flee, and why they don’t say bye-bye politely when they take their leave. I wondered if they might come back if I invited them to stay? Or are they like a love burned, one future lost forever in a thoughtless moment?

I was working overtime at The Office sorting and organizing The Piles. I was close to being finished, and my office was a sparklingly organized jewel gleaming in the bright artificial light, a hopeful example of crisp, modern, shiny efficiency battling the general snarl and squalor of the corporate jungle.

I was surveying with complacent self-absorption a pile of brochures from a computer mega-corporation – glossy and unread - positioned for reading should the opportunity avail itself. Purring quietly to myself in a state of chaos-absolved self-satisfaction I saw - marching out of this virgin collection of sexy material - a stumbling but determined freshly molted mayfly, bright yellow and neon green. His pretty wings weren’t solid – they were curvy and crumply like a fresh hair style awaiting blow-drying. He was moving at a quick crawl. He didn’t have much time – a mayfly lifetime is a single human day.

He was heading straight toward me, alien eyes and antenna fixed and pointed on me, a disturbed punk fly with a good buzz on, full of mayfly testosterone, pissed from the tumble of paper shuffling, reeling with disappointment, born to mate and compete against 10,000 similarly excited mayflys, finding himself stuck in a stuffy building with a quiet technocrat cleaning his office. His determination to reach me seemed threatening somehow. And we can’t have bugs in software brochures, can we? I bopped him, stopping him in his tracks. He never moved again.

Mayflys are delicate creatures. I began to remember that about them. Shame at my thoughtless fearful reaction began to turn my cheeks pink. Was I afraid of a mayfly? Here he is shuddering down into lifelessness - what was he planning to do before being bopped? Now I would never know.

Suddenly I began to question what had happened to my childhood sense of wonder – and especially my innocent respect and awe for life. I wondered why wonder had wandered; and would wonder once banished stay away forever, like a forbidden childhood truelove?

I am soon 42 years old. By my reckoning – using Mayfly Standard Time – I am just crossing twelve noon. Half my allotted day is gone. Here I am, stumbling determinedly forward, feeling a little lost, tumbled, and lonely, but with my antenna raised, eyes open, curiously finding myself facing a man. I am wondering is he a friend or a foe? Will he take an interest in me? Help me reach my destination? He is raising his hand. Could it be friendship? Curious, I move straight in his direction.

After I Killed A Mayfly Today is Copyright David M. Pickens.
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