A short story about lazy summer days, insects and time
Seventeen Year Locust
I was trapped for a few minutes underground on the B train this morning, and even though I wasn't underground THAT long, it felt like an eternity.
Write a story or poem about a passage of time that is either eternally slow, or unbelievably fast.
‘How strange it must feel,' he thought slowly, languidly, watching the little cicada flit about in it's little glass jar. He had captured it earlier with the pure amazement he often afforded all manner of insects and tiny creatures. ‘How strange it must feel to be a cicada.'
In his opinion is was quite a pretty creature, maybe an inch long, all black with red eyes and translucent wings. He stared at it for a long time, fluttering around, trying in vain to escape its imprisonment. Poor thing.
Magicicada or seventeen year locust, despite the fact that it was not a locust at all. He could get quite technical with the classification of insects but he truly didn't feel like it today in the warmth and the comfort. He was quite the scientific mind though, despite his age.
He loved these summer days, what teenage boy didn't? Summer was lazy and slow and perfect. The world dragged on, felt no need to hurry up. Summer meant days spent in the grass with comic books or teenage romance novels or short horror stories. It meant lemonade and watermelon and sprinkler systems. Summer meant pickup games of football with the neighbor kids.
And summer meant this, lying in the grass, watching the world pass so slowly by, staring into the glass jar at a little insect and wondering what it must feel to live like that. It was called a seventeen year locust for a reason. Seventeen years this insect spent as a juvenile, burrowed deep under the ground, having no real life at all. Seventeen years, longer then he's been alive. What it must feel to sleep for that long and then awake, new and grown.
Then it was this, this small creature with translucent wing and a black body. It flitted around for about 5 weeks in the summer sun, alive and pure and free, reproducing and making way for the next generation of seventeen year incest's. And then in died.
Seventeen years spent under the ground. He supposed time must crawl buy, slow and trickling, like molasses on a cold day. Seventeen years it spent for little more than a month of life. Seventeen years spent waiting to die. How morbid that was. He wondered what that must feel like. It was a morbid thought for a young teen, but he spent a good deal of his slow summer days on such thought. It was easier in the heat, he supposed.
It was the longest living insect, outside the termite queen. The longest living insect and so much of it's life not spent living at all. How strange, like some cruel trick God or Nature, or whoever was in charge, played upon this poor little bug. Poor thing. He wondered if time flied by or if it stayed at the steady crawl that he experienced on his summer days.
He supposed if he were to live like that, with only 5 true weeks of life, he would like them to be spent in the lazy days of summer. It seemed a good time to live, tick and warm and comfortable. His little cicada fluttered harder in its glass jar. His cicada, his insect, his 5 weeks of life.
What could one accomplish in 5 weeks, what could one really live through in that space of time. True the pains and troubles of growing up were over and done with, but still. It seemed so short a time to leave a foot print on the earth. Or would remember anything, incest or human, that existed for only 5 weeks in one summer.
It was a sad thought and he vowed always to remember this moment, this slow steady crawl of time. He wished for the best for his little cicada. He could not cheat time, but he wished for log days and the sorts of feelings that lasted, for his little insect. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
Five weeks to live. There would be quite a lot of it, a lot of life that is.
He unscrewed the cap and though lazy happy thoughts for the creature. He watched it flutter off and leaned back against his tree, the bark biting into his back, but he didn't move. These lazy summer days made a single moment last like a lifetime and he didn't fell like moving. He was content right here.