She brought close her forewings. With just enough space between them for the gentle air to move, she posed for another moment, as she had stood many moments before. Even as the world didn’t hold still for this becoming miracle, the energy in her wings transformed into sound. The cornered singer she was, cornered next to an outlet that would allow any water in the room to leap out. She rubbed her forewings once again releasing a melody of sounds. An hour before, I yelled at the cricket for her mischief, patronizing her for her lack of regard for private space. I “offered” her a lift, scolding her midway, and then dropping her into the secluded corner.
A fly hops from one squared tile on the floor to another. It appears to be searching sweet sugary nectar to rest itself, to allow its tentacles to receive just one passing kiss of a hint to affirm its next hop. Alert to its core, its whole body responding to the will of this creature. I hold the fly in reverie, its esteemed search, the confidence that has passed on to it from its previous generations. It remembers who it is and it remembers its purpose. Yet, when he lifted itself from the tiled floor towards me, I raised my arm to drive it away.
An arachnoid flits around at the corner of the floor bed. I tugged at my denim jacket to retrieve it from its unfailing climb. Sensing my presence, he turned across. 180 degrees. For a brief moment if only, I saw him, careful and connected to what was happening around him. Knowing to his depth that I have moved, he moved too, another 180 degrees. Taking along on his eight legs, each leg steady and sure, he floated away in a parallel. I relaxed in the preserved destiny of the denim jacket.
A moth having lived its full life stays close to an earthy brown backpack. Stillness. As I swept the room, trimming the edges and open spaces of its dust, I combed insects which had passed away in the passing of the night. There were bugs, a few ants, and another large moth. I almost combed this moth. A flick of her wings threw an epiphany. Her stillness appeared to be her death and yet life throbbed inside her.
I too, sit in the same room. Blood has gradually returned to my extremities – the toes and the fingers. I breathe in without an effort and I know I am warmer than before. I had reduced the running speed of the ceiling fan from its maximum to its minimum. One long-held turn and the temperature in the room has suddenly become comfortable. Under the flailing length of a bedcover, I sit rescued not just from the cold, but also each of the creatures I remember I share the room with. I have devices I can employ to ward them off, to demonstrate a decoded state of power resting in me. Human.
Unwantedly though, I sit with a recognition. I appeared as the sole controller in the room, guiding life forms in and out of the territories that I have rendered as my own. I knew that the room belonged to me as did each object that sat precariously defining the dimensions of my world. Almost everything was carefully selected from a myriad of choices and options to serve me. Anything else that seemed to run this principle void was seen as a direct or indirect threat to my existence or the things I owned. The denim jacket did not cry out for a rescue.
As the primal fear entwined with the egoic, I saw myself retching. A world revolted itself inside me and I came to see how intolerant I had become when it came to sharing a piece of land. No, this was not the wars I had risen against another human, this was the war I had risen against another life form. It was clear. I did not and could not tolerate other life forms invading my space, my piece of land. A cricket, a fly, a spider, a moth. Each of their existence in the same space as mine released a fear from my innards, a fear of being subdued, a fear of being overtaken, a fear of being insignificant.
A word floats as a wisp in the thin air folding itself in multitudes, flowering and then closing. It floats as that again and again, a dancing mockery of the stubborn, solid fear. Just as it opens itself once again, I try to read it with great intentions. It forms carefully in my vision. Syllables come together, a breathing space in between, and then the whole word appears. Co-existence.
The word plays around, disentangling, flowing in a banner, appearing, however, again and again. Unwillingly I allow myself to at last listen to the silence that has percolated in the room. In that moment, with the word in front of me, I feel for the first time, each creature. The cricket, the fly, the spider, and the moth. I spot another creature. Equally fragile, equally complex and devoted body, equally versatile. I spot me.
One leg over the other, I saw her perplexed and almost in tears. She appeared no different than the other creatures. She was no more, she was no less. She was neither superior nor she was taken as less than. She breathed as they breathed, she sensed danger as they did, she looked for sustenance as they did, and she will eventually die or be killed as they will.
The cricket, the fly, the spider, the moth, and the human co-existed. Each recognising how they fit within the larger purpose and beyond it. The winds strengthened in the world outside tossing the trees. A butterfly wafted. A piece of yellow cloth stridently hung to the clothesline. Yet on the inside, the world had calmed.
I looked at the moth and said, “I see you in me”. I knew she recognised me too.