I don’t notice it until I place the milk bottle on the kitchen counter. It is then that my eyes find it. A green-bodied dragon-fly, around the size of my little finger.
The insect is holding onto the bottle despite the uncomfortable icy-cold wetness that has fogged the container. I want to get on with the day, and I have no time for clingy, little dragon-flies. I shoo the thing away.
It flies around a bit, and lands on the floor, resting into a comfortable no-work zone. I turn around to boil the milk and forget the dragon-fly for some time. Until I turn around once more, and notice that it has not moved from its spot, in the middle of the kitchen floor. It looks quite. Too quiet. I know it is going to…um…pass away soon.
I sigh and shake my head over the dragon-fly that chose to move into its after-life from my kitchen. Maybe, my house is some kind of gateway into another world, I think, and laugh to myself. The idea appeals to me and I make a mental note to use it in my fiction work.
My attention is drawn back to the dragon-fly. It is sitting right there, in the middle of the room, and is going to be in everyone’s way. I shoo it to a corner, trying to give it some space to die peacefully. It chooses to hop close to the refrigerator. I grimace.
I can understand the dragon-fly’s longing for warmth. But the creature is ignorant of the danger that lurks underneath the dark shadows of the refrigerator’s bottom.
There is a monster under the refrigerator.
It is one of my house-lizards.
I don’t want the frail dragon-fly to become the house-lizard’s breakfast. It gives a whole new meaning to “the last supper.” More than anything, I don’t wish to capture nature’s truth this early in the morning, or any time at all during the rest of the day, even my entire life maybe, if the Universe is kind enough. It is the bane of human-hood – we have the brains to discover the truth, and yet don’t have the heart to face the absolute.
And the absolute wills a dragon-fly on its death bed to meet a gory end in the mouth of a slimy, hungry lizard. I want to fight the absolute, so I change the dragon-fly’s destiny.
I shoo it away from the refrigerator. I am hoping that in another life-time the insect will thank me. It gives me a rude shock instead.
In a fit of anger at being moved from every resting point, the dragon-fly, flies like it has never flown before. And, it comes at me!
It takes a few seconds to chase the furious insect away from my face. I am stunned at this display of anger in response to my generosity. I realize that the dragon-fly is no different from some humans I know and have heard of. Un-intelligent, because of its own, selfish wants, blind to the blessing of kindness. I become aware of my own anger, and turn away from the ungrateful insect. I have wasted time, energy and emotion upon this vile being.
I get back to the more important work of packing lunch-bags and hanging out the laundry. When I walk to the balcony to reach for the second lot of washed clothes, something blocks my way. I grimace. And immediately sigh at the way it all ended.
There is a crowd of ants, climbing a small hill. The hill happens to be the dragon-fly, or happened to be the dragon-fly. It has…passed away…at last, its portal into another life taking its time to open the heavy doors. The dragon-fly leaves behind its coat that gets back to Earth, in its own way.
I take a moment to wonder if I changed the dragon-fly’s destiny. Maybe, it was destined to become a lizard’s breakfast, maybe it was destined to die peacefully in the middle of my kitchen, inhaling the aroma of my cooking. (My husband would opine that the lizard’s death-grip would have been preferable to death by the fragrance from my cooking.) Or maybe, the dragon-fly was destined to die out there in front of the balcony, its body, over-ridden by ants.
My mind wanders, wondering about destiny. Are we constantly changing ours, with every action, every thought? Or are we already pre-programmed to keep changing our destinies, with every breath, and every move? Death is a pre-program right around the time of birth, after all. Everything that we do is eventually going to lead us towards our own portal, our gateway into an afterlife.
So, is someone out there – the someone who created everything – rooting for us, or playing us? Is this someone, us?! Because the Almighty permeates everything, I am told.
Whatever, I have a reluctant 12-year old to chase away to school, an over-sleeping husband to wake up, and a dragon-fly’s story to tell. Destiny, can play itself out.