I may need a shrink. Or a drink. But I think I’ll write instead.
Last night, a beetle crawled into bed with me. My “normal” self would have, at the very least, flicked him out of bed.
But last night, I looked at him and thought, “I wonder how his day has been?” And I wasn’t even surprised that I thought that. I ask everyone how their day has been.
He sat there and didn’t move. So I went ahead and asked him about his day. He didn’t answer. He was a beetle. But maybe he did. Maybe his day was so awful, that he couldn’t put it into words. Or maybe he preferred to keep it to himself. Or maybe he was speaking a beetle language that I couldn’t hear or understand. But he sat so still that I began to think he was listening to me. Waiting to hear about my day.
So I poured out my soul to this beetle. Who couldn’t respond. Couldn’t fix anything. But he didn’t move. He sat still and paid attention. And at that moment, that was really all I needed. I talked. I laughed. I wept. I drifted in and out of the absurdity of it all. And in all the feeling-bad-for-myself, I looked down at this tiny creature and realized how precarious his life was. How short. How he took a risk by climbing up a comforter to find himself face to face with a large, low-blood-sugared, semi-crazy woman who, on a normal day, could have easily squished him. But he made the decision to hang out there on that comfy hotel bed and listen to me ramble. So now I was filled with mad respect for this member of the Coleoptera order (fairly badass name) and his bravery and patience.
I told him how yesterday, while walking through the maze of hallways in a hospital so beautiful it almost made you forget it was full of people fighting for their lives, I found myself behind a doctor. With each stride, I heard the unmistakable rattle of candy in a theater-sized box. I glanced down at the pocket in his cargo-style scrubs pants, and wondered what it was. As we reached the exit, and waited for a car to pass, I turned to him and asked, “Skittles?”. He smiled and answered, “Reese’s.”
And I mentioned how when my beautiful 3-year old grandson “H” hit his elbow last night, I leaned over to kiss the boo-boo. “H” then touched my elbow (I have psoriasis) and turned concerned eyes up to me and asked, “boo boo?”. My heart melted, as it often does around him. He hugged me, and as I watched him scramble up into my daughter’s lap, what was left of my heart slid into my purse. I would take it out later.
The beetle and I marveled about what an incredibly small world it is. How serendipitous life has become. How cool the word “serendipitous” is.
And then I told him about curling up next to my friend. How I want to do everything, but know I can’t do anything. The frustration of not having the right words, but knowing that she loves the way I shoot from the hip. She relies on me to be the one who listens without judgement. And I know I can give her that.
We marveled at how crazy it is that such deep friendships can form in such a short amount of time when we are young. At age 16, we crawl under the sheets and talk about everything. Our hearts aren’t covered with scar tissue. In those pillow forts, our deepest secrets and wildest dreams pass back and forth and form a bond that time can’t break. We share experiences in those short months that will last a lifetime. I’ve known women for decades and have never bonded in the same way. The handful of close friends I have now are those who can tap into that youth. Who don’t judge. Who have such an easy spirit that just a simple text between us can lift my heart. We can practically pick each other out of a room. (You all know who you are!)
And because my new hard-shelled friend hadn’t moved in quite a while, I began to think he was dead. I blew softly on him, and he crawled a few inches away. But he didn’t leave.
So I took a deep breath and whispered the heavy stuff. My hope was that once it was out of my lungs, it would leave me altogether. Somewhere in the middle of it all, like praying when I was younger, I fell into a deep sleep.
But I woke up this morning and my new friend was gone. And I am sitting at breakfast and crying over my hotel eggs. I scan the modern room, searching for any sign of a beetle.
Damn hotel and their cleanliness standards.