Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Dragonfly

Ida found the rain soaked dragonfly in the middle of the road one late summer morning, after a night of drenching showers.  She carried him carefully home to the refuge of her garden, placing his fragile, water soaked body among the leaves and  flowers of her petunia plants.  By all outward appearances, he seemed to be dead, but Ida held out hope anyway.

She had been walking to town that morning on an errand to purchase the few groceries she could afford, when she had spotted the dragonfly.  Struck by his beauty, and aware of his utter helplessness, Ida was, for a brief moment,  torn over what to do.  She needed to buy  food, yet she was unable to leave the poor creature where he lay.

Ida had figured correctly.  Her husband was more than a little displeased when she returned home empty handed, and he made no attempt to hide his contempt for her decision.  More pressing matters were at stake, he felt compelled to remind her, than rescuing half drowned insects.  As though she needed reminding.   There was never enough food.  There were never enough clothes that were decent enough to wear.  Never enough work to be found, and never enough money.  Ida silently added another  “never" of her own to the list:  Never enough words of comfort on her part to buoy the spirits of a man who seemed so determined to be miserable.  Heaven knew she had tried.

As desperate as Ida was to escape from under the layers of despair that blanketed  her life and start fresh, she knew such a prospect was slim.  So instead, she pinned all of her hopes for a second chance on the dragonfly, who with his iridescent wings and blue green body added color to a world where color, for Ida had drained away.    

All through the remainder of the morning, and into the afternoon and evening, Ida anxiously visited the dragonfly, who continued to rest as his wings dried.   “He looks like he is smiling, the dear little thing.”  Ida thought to herself.  “I hope he is having the most wonderful dream about flying.”

The following morning found the sun rising warmly after a night of clear skies, and Ida ventured outside to check on the dragonfly.  Feeling more of a sense of dread than hope, she tentatively searched among the leaves and blossoms of the petunias, half expecting to find him where she had left him slumbering the night before, only now certainly dead. 

Her heart began to beat wildly as the realization of what she was seeing became clear.

He was gone.

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