Monday, June 13, 2011

An Entomologist's Story

She wanted to be a xenobiologist, but had to settle for being an entomologist. That is okay. She has come to love her insects. They scuttle across the surface of the sand, and bury themselves, only their mandibles showing . . . She uses tweezers to grip one by the mandibles and pull it free of its little sand pit. It has undergone a metamorphosis, becoming surprisingly large, glistening, something not quite an insect any more. There is something very unnatural and unpleasant about it.

"This one has devolved, or perhaps evolved," she says, smiling sweetly. "It is hard to tell."

Despite the insect's hideous appearance she still loves it.

She remembers how it was, how throughout the evening, he had his arm around her, stroking her hair, feeling the pulse at her throat. She leaned against him, lowered her head onto his shoulder. They had not even kissed yet.

Months later, at the holiday dinner table, he became a pompous asshole, insulting her friends and alienating her family. She felt cross-eyed, as though she had lost her focus on something under her microscope. Is this the wonderful person she wanted everyone to meet? What happened to him?

And she saw that he had not evolved or devolved, but had been just the same, hiding beneath the surface with only his mandibles protruding. She realized that he had only touched her with his mandibles, and she had responded in kind. They had not mated at all, but she was terrified and overjoyed to think that she just might be pregnant.

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