One for Haiti

My little contribution for the people of Haiti. Its a difficult time for them. If you enjoy the story, then please visit Crossed Genes and donate generously.

Story: The Last Chapter of My Autobiography: The Obituary

I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up. -- Benjamin Franklin

I am at the bottom of the pyramid or so they say, but what do I care. I am the King of my own universe. I move around at my own free will. Eat the best food available. Keep the company of best in this business. Personally, I am superior to anyone I see around; the fleas, ticks, bedbugs, Palmetto bugs, Carpet beetles, water bugs, silverfish, crickets, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, cockroaches. I’m the buck-toothed Termite; the ubiquitous Termite; the diligent Termite; the conscientious Termite; THE KING!

It’s been long since I put my thoughts onto paper. People (by people, I mean, my fellow termites) have always been telling me to tell my stories to others. This is the perfect time, the perfect weather and the perfect home to make a start. I stay in a beautiful house; no I am not talking of the house we make out of clay and wood pulp, but a real house; one where humans stay. I am so very sentimentally attached to this house. I was born and brought up here in the kitchen and this house is my playground. All the tricks of the trade and life have been taught to me here at this very house. This is MY home. I barely remember my parents but have very vivid and nostalgic memories of my childhood. The war cries, when we attacked a new piece of furniture or the joyous occasion of stealing a piece of celery (my personal favorite) are all embedded in my mind like a precious treasure, unseen and untold, except for the words my mouth spills from my heart at this very moment.

This house is not what it used to be…new. So what if the faucet leaks, so what if the roof leaks a little, this is still my home. I have seen it from the day the first tenant came in. The family had a charming little girl. I used to watch her every move from a distance. She used to play in the corner with her dolls and dress them up with her nimble fingers, whispering something into their ears…something reassuring perhaps, since the dolls stayed calm. I watched her day and night, I went to sleep after she did and woke up to see her lazily crawl out of the bed. My entire world revolved around her. Then one day, the inevitable happened. She left with her family…so suddenly. I woke up to see the furniture being moved out of the house and the charming girl leaving. She didn’t even turn back to say goodbye. Maybe because I was at the bottom of the pyramid. Life was never the same again without her. I tried taking my mind off her by chewing on every piece of available wood…mindlessly. But even my sharp mandibles couldn’t eat into her memories, destroying them. In fact, trying to eat into her memories was destroying me; I was getting eaten from inside. But time is a great healer. It healed the wounds created by the separation but not the self-inflicted wounds. They never heal, perhaps.

Many tenants came and went with myriad furniture. I went on with my life eating into wood and making anthills and collecting food. Life fell into a groove or almost was till something happened this morning. The house had been empty from last week after the previous tenant moved out. I woke up and was standing in the corner of the living room, when I heard it…the “laugh”. It woke every cell of my body. Sometimes a memory is attached to a song, a whiff of scent, a laugh…and whenever we come across that stimulant, the memory jumps out of the deepest recesses of the mind. This laugh was something that was related to my very reason of existence. The charming girl had returned. Call it fate, luck or providence, but here she was…in flesh…only she was not the charming girl anymore but had become a charming lady.

I watched her enter the house. The house had become home once again. She was the only one missing. It is amazing to think as to how the face changes, the physique changes and the expressions change with age but the eyes never. I tried looking into her eyes and found it exactly the same as they were years ago. I was like her knight in shining armor and she my queen. There she was standing near me and here was I, sword somehow in my hand, heavy razor precipitously balanced as I was rising a little in the stirrups. HER KNIGHT!

I didn’t realize that my brother and sister termites were all standing near me, all beholding the enigma; the charming lady, who disappears and returns so very bewilderingly. Then she noticed me. At last! It was her eyes that took away my breath. Then she opened her mouth. Her first words for me! It wasn’t a word, rather it was a blood-curdling scream that she let out into the calm surrounding. Looking from her expression, she was fuming. Here I was, full of adoration for her and she was screaming at me?! The arrogance of humans never ceases to amaze me. And I've long since given up trying to understand their complete obliviousness for the feelings of pests (I hate that word) like me.

Then she did the unthinkable. She came back with an aerosol can…full of pesticide…FOR ME! It was worse than a betrayal; it was like seeing death in the face of the one person on earth that could move me both to tears and to laughter. A person I cared and longed for. She opened the cap of the can and directed it at me…and fired. The raw hurt that flashed, then settled on my face echoed deep within me, but the anger still had me and burned more fiercely than even the pain due to the pesticide.

I had erred, and now I was paying the price, throat crushed to a bloody spurting mess. I grappled at it, choking and gurgling, as the charming lady did her death-dance. My vision is swimming. I can’t tell whether it is from blood that has been splashed on my face, or from tears of betrayal. Both are equally likely.

My vision wavering with the effort, but my voice hasn’t suffered the slightest tremble. The face of the charming girl floats on my iris, throwing different hues of hope into the surrounding…it is so all encompassing. Maybe I’ll meet her someday and when I do I’ll take her, up north, to Heaven. Take her aside where no one else will hear and tell her of what happened today. Tell her of what happened, and not what I wished to have happened. I’ll try not to make a fool of myself or of her, because she will know if I lie. I’ll ask her only one question. Why?

Copyright (c) Pigtale 2005-2010. Images copyright respective holders.

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