Fly Season

by willeya

I was awakened in the middle of the night Saturday to a fly swooping inches from my head. It sounded like a helicopter on a rescue mission. This is a dreaded sound to me, and does similar things to my stomach (and sleep) as a baby crying in the middle of the night.  I can never come out of full consciousness to hunt and kill the thing, so it just takes half of my sleep the whole night.

So this went on throughout the night until morning light. It was Saturday morning, the one morning Ben and I allow the TV to be the babysitter so we can be lazy.  I had just taken my first sip of freshly ground, perfectly brewed, light black coffee, hmmmmm, and sank further into my sheets to read when I heard the fat, thick low lazy buzz of the fly again.  Darn if that thing was going to take my morning too.

I followed the sound to the window only to see a small BIRD perching on the blind. I promise, the thing was that huge. My first thought was that it had to be pregnant to be that big.  My second thought was panic.

Any minute, it’s going to have hundreds of babies in my house and the rest of our summer nights will be lived under mosquito nets with fans to mute the buzzing.

The rest of the day was spent, in and out, trying to catch that darn fly.  Ben said he would pay the boys a quarter if they caught the fly with their nets.  The boys, understanding that four quarters gets them a matchbox car, went to work.

Atticus had the idea to fill the nets with food, and found rotting hard boiled Easter eggs, along with the wilting spinach, for bait. We watched and waited for Mama Fly to touch down.

This went on for about five minutes until the children got distracted, as children do, and I set to work on laundry.  They say a watched pot never boils, and this mother and her babes will never wait long enough to find out.

Fast forward a couple hours, it was dinner time and I was putting away the last of the clothes, when a triumphant Atticus runs into the room announcing that he had caught the fly!  Perched on one of the kids’ toys, he caught her with his net.

Victory! We all slept a satisfied, solitary, soundless sleep last night.

This afternoon, after a Sunday morning filled with tears for all the reasons one can shed tears, we collapsed in the living room.  Ben was sleeping, I was reading a book with Solomon on top of me, who was also reading a book, and Atticus was playing with legos.  The afternoon sun shone through the windows, a benediction of glowing stillness over our weary selves.  I was finishing my book, practically a monk sitting in English gardens six centuries ago, when I heard a bump, bump, bzzzz. bump, bump, bzzz, pulling me back to my real self.  Small and imperceptible, I followed the sound to its source.

There, on the window, sat a tiny, baby fly.

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