" I Squished An Ant"...... [ Growing Up; Parenting; Death; Siblings; Fiction; Medium]
My dad, God bless him, some thought was weird,
by Bri Edwards
and not because he chewed tobacco and ….. had a beard.
But unlike some dads who leave raising kids up to "Mom",
Dad parented gently, though he could be stern (while calm) .
One summer Sunday when I was four, I went outside to play.
[We had a fenced in yard, near San Francisco Bay.]
I had on brown shoes ……, which my dad had tied.
[I never could get the knots right, no matter how I tried! ]
My older sister was playing hopscotch….. on our concrete walk.
She'd never let me play the game with her; always she would balk.
But maybe ‘cause I'd just turned four, she said "Go ahead and try".
I got to number three, but landed on an ant; I began to cry.
Sis started laughing and then she called me "a Big Crybaby".
[I've always been sensitive around "Death", but "Crybaby"! ? ….. MAYBE.]
I removed the ant-killing shoe; knots I could UNdo.
On its bottom I found the ant, dead, and stuck like gum or glue.
I cried even louder, and ‘she' said "It's ONLY an ANT! "
I ran inside and upstairs to Dad, so fast that I began to pant.
"Daddy" I cried between my sobs, "I squished and ant! See? ! "
He viewed the corpse, then calmly said "Let's bury it under a tree".
My sister had come inside to see what had transpired.
She took a look at my shoe and saw the ant (expired) .
Then Dad said to her "Would you help us lay the ant to rest? "
[Dad had lots of great ideas, growing up; that was one... of his best.]
Sis started to say "No", but I think Dad gave her a "look".
So she helped us find an envelope and, in it, the ant, we took ….
to our backyard and Sis helped me pick out a tree.
A garden shovel was brought by Dad, and I got down on one knee.
Sis (with Dad's help) dug a shallow grave; it wasn't very big.
Then with two rubber bands I made a cross with a broken twig.
I said "I'm sorry, Ant, that I squished you. Please don't be mad."
Then I glanced at my sister who almost (but not quite) looked sad.
I placed the envelope in the hole, and covered it with some dirt.
Then Dad said a few words about ants and such, to make me feel less hurt.
(February 19, 2015)