WANNA TELL YOU THAT YOU'LL BE ALRIGHT
I hit the ground. Look up. I should see the sky but I don't. I see the giant ant that just knocked me down. He has made himself comfortable on my chest. His ant arms hold my head on either side and he searches my face while he talks to me.
"You are always doing that," he says. He talks crisply, pronounces the t's at the ends of words like a skilled orator. "Humans don't mean what they say. They mean what they do. When are you going to get that?"
The ant has brown eyes. He seems to know his stuff. I do not know my stuff. I thought words meant something. Due to recent current events, I can see the logic of the ant's argument.
"Let's play a game," the ant says. Because I am trapped underneath him, I agree.
The ant taps his ant fingers on my temples. "You are making a quilt," he says.
"Actually, crafts, not really my thing--"
"Quiet. Not your turn. So. You are making a quilt. This is a game. A met-a-phor. You'll have to move out of the literal for this portion of today's lesson. The quilt. It will be large and colorful and able to be used for a variety of functions: picnics, a blanket, a tablecloth, a cape, a sweater if you like bulk. You know you can make the quilt yourself, but you'd rather have company. What do you do?"
"Ask for help?"
"Who...I like to make quilts with?"
"Yes. Very good. So. Your friend says yes."
"Quiet. Not your turn. So. Your friend says yes," now the ant's voice raises an octave, "yes, I'd love to help you make a quilt--"
"Is that my friend's voice?"
"Who talks like that?"
"Your friend. Quiet. Not your turn. So. Your friend would love to help you make a quilt. What do you do now?"
"I invite my friend over to make the quilt."
"I invite my friend to a bar to make the quilt?"
"An amusement park?"
"An amusement park with glass sculptures and a Snakes of the Tropics exhibit?"
"No. You wait for the friend to call you."
"Why would I do that?"
"To see if your friend actually wants to make a quilt."
"But my friend said yes."
"But your friend didn't do yes. You see?"
"But it's my quilt."
"And you can make it on your own. And your friend knows that."
"But I don't want to make it on my own."
"That's the part nobody gives a shit about. When are you doing to get that?"
The sidewalk under my back is a rough, grooved surface. Tiny pinpricks poke my back. The ant taps his ant fingers on my nose. Then he scampers up my torso, over my head, there is a moment of darkness as his ant body blocks the sun, then he continues down the sidewalk--a giant ant, going about his day. I stay on the sidewalk, looking up. I don't know how to make a quilt.