By Melese Birmeji
Ethiopian Secular Humanist Alliance (ESHA)
There was a fly. I had seen it around. Past three days. Smallish. Not a housefly, exactly, but a fly, nonetheless. It was habituating various windows. I think that anyone who cared to could see it wanted to go. Out. To leave.
Speaking gently, I wandered over and set my finger down next to it. ‘I wonder if this fly can understand me enough to just get onto my finger,’ I said to the witness at hand.
At that, the fly crawled onto my finger. I was a bit surprised. In order to climb onto my finger, it had to turn away from the light and climb to a place in darkness. Unlikely.
‘You must ignore the light,’ I began, ‘because if you follow it, I cannot take you where you wish to go.’
I was between the fly and the light. I began walking away from the window, with the fly on my finger. ‘Stay with me, I will take you were trying to go.’
We passed into a dark room, and another with light. ‘Do not worry about the light, just stay with me, and soon you will be outside.’ I walked slowly through two other rooms, the fly remained with me. ‘That’s the way, you’re doing well.’ I spoke encouragements to my winged passenger.
There was a very bright light in the last room, but the fly stayed the course.
I opened the back door, and raised my finger, blowing gently. The fly flew. It was free again. Colder out there, true. But free.
Some people might say that I can communicate with insects. Perhaps it is more that insects can communicate with me. In any case, did I assist the fly? Or was I the beneficiary? Who was set free, actually? Was it my wisdom that guided this symbiotic encounter? Was I the avatar of a tiny insect’s need, or will? Or was it listening to mine?
Here’s my answer: beauty.