A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I know what they say about favorites. But every parent's got one and Lucy is mine. 

When Lucy emerged from her pupa state and wiggled her antennae for the first time, I loved her more than I dreamed possible. "For you, the moon and the stars," I whispered. 

The Queen is starting to wonder why I've lost all interest in mating. Everyone in the colony seems to think I should be doing my job. But I can't stop foraging. There's a human girl nearby who is careless. She's always leaving things behind in the schoolyard. I carry these lost items back to the nest for Lucy. 

A doll's shoe has become my daughter's bed. A faded hair ribbon is her blanket. It embarrasses Lucy to get gifts in front of the other young workers, but I know she's secretly pleased.  She's not engineered to be special, none of us are, but we want it just the same.

The last few days, Lucy's been acting differently. She's listless and not eating as much. Today, the colony elder tells me that Lucy's sick. She likely won't live to see spring. 

The Queen is sending out her mating pheromones again. It's time for me to get to work, but how can I, when everything is lost? 

I head to the schoolyard instead. It's dangerous for me to be out here alone, but I don't care. In the distance, something glitters. When I arrive, I see it is a girl's headband shining like the moon and stars together. 

An ant can lift 50 times its own weight. And we can carry much more when we have to.

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