The Wasp

At the edge of hearing, a droning sound emanated from the kitchen. Looking up revealed the largest, darkest wasp she had ever seen. Her lips pressed together in a firm line. Her husband was allergic to bee stings, and while wasps and bees were different animals, his reactions suggested they were close enough to be worrisome.

The wasp flew at a stately pace, bumbling into the two-foot wall that extended down from the ceiling. It flew into the obstruction multiple times, which she had seen flies do, but when the occasional wasp did fly in through their back door, they were jet planes, zooming here and there and never seeming to hit anything.

This wasp was odd.

Her son watched the wasp from the couch, obviously worried that it might fly near him. It stayed up towards the ceiling, so she wasn’t as concerned, but this was its second strike, it had to leave or she would have to take matters into her own hands.

The wasp droned and buzzed its way around the living room, as though giving the place a thorough inspection. It bounced into several more obstructions along the way. A door, the movie rack, the modem.

It found the window almost by accident. She had been looking for the errant flyswatter (no one put it back where it belonged) and had her implement in hand. She paused. Feeling unexpected pity for the wasp, she opened the window and decided to herd the wasp with the flyswatter rather than smash it. This was a task more difficult than first thought; the wasp could not seem to be cajoled to move toward the open window, and she feared smashing it in her enthusiasm to escort it outside.

She sat down in the chair next to the window and watched the wasp. It was shaking. Coated in a fine, fuzzy film from the dust lingering in her windowsill, the black carapace of its back was no longer quite so shiny and cold. It almost looked friendlier. The wide, triangular eyes were as unreadable as any insect’s, but there was something about the movement of its body and the weakening attempts to fly that made her realize the wasp was dying.

In that moment, she wanted nothing more than to help the wasp. She wanted it outside, she wanted it to fly away. It did not matter that she considered its death five minutes ago. The wasp was dying, and needed help.

As she watched, the wasp’s movements stilled, and its legs drew up underneath it. It’s abdomen, black and fuzzy with dust, curled up and moved no more.

Dead on her windowsill.

She still had the flyswatter in her hand. She put it down, (not back where it belonged,) and tried to understand what she felt. Guilty, sad, disappointed emotions, and in the back of her mind, she was glad she didn’t have to kill it.

She left the wasp where it lay, curled in the dust.

Hail, September.

I swear August is twice as long as any month in the year. Maybe it was looking forward to the beginning of the school year, or waiting for the end of summer quarter, but it felt like a long month.

And now what’s happened? The weather has turned cool, my son has traded his sandals and shorts for shoes, socks, and pants, and September has finally arrived.

I love this time of year. That hasn’t changed – I used to be more of a solar-powered girl, but lately it’s been getting too intense and I prefer the cooler, woolier days of autumn.

The side benefit of early September is that I am doing my own personal Septembowrimo. I’ve been working hard on slogging through my novel so I can get it out. It has been two years, much longer than I wanted to pass between Bento Box coming out and Typhon. I think that at the end of the day it will be a better book for the wait, but I don’t think that consumers typically feel that way.

It has been a time of reorganization. My writers group is undergoing some changes, as we try to tool our gang into a bunch of editors as well as writers. It’s going to make the whole group grow as a result, but of course there’s always the uncomfortable elbowing and resettling that comes with a big change like this.

I am also learning what it’s like to take more breaks. I’m terrible for it. I have so much to do on any given day that I push my way through the day without any thought to the condition my brain is going to be in at the end of it. I have to figure out a way to restructure my day to include time off. I feel guilty for saying it, I spent years going at this pace without any trouble. However, I have reached the age of, “I am too old for this bullshit,” and I might as well wear that badge with pride. I have a lot to do, it’s never going to go away, but maybe some of it isn’t the priority I once gave it.

I imagine things will still continue to get done.