I’m kneeling in the tub, again, toweling my thinning hair, awakened as usual from some distant world by the swirl of draining water. For some reason on this morning, in the silence that ensues, I stop my “dreams of elsewhere” and peer down into the black hole of the drain, glimpse the waxen ebony of a tiny cricket’s shell about to disappear forever through the inner wire mesh, its crisp legs waving frantically, its head and upper back already through. I try to grip its lower thorax but there’s not enough exposed. Dripping still, I rise to grab a tweezer from the nearby shelf, hunker down again, and poke. But it’s too slippery and—damn it all!—I now begin to mash it. Careful, careful—I try to squeeze more gently than before. Up, up, but damn again, it sprawls against that minute grate with gestures of a martyr.
I’m suddenly aware that I’ve been at this for too long! My hair, chest, back, even my groin and toes, still soaked. I’m going to be late for class . . . but I believe that I must save him. Or at least that I must try. I believe two people can stay married for a lifetime, even if it’s true that Emma Bovary in one blind moment broke her vow to a kind plain man and lost her soul. But I believe, beyond all that—I’ll tell my class as I stumble in five minutes late—in pure forgiveness as we strive to help the world in those small ways we can. I believe, in fact—please do not laugh—all wars can end. And I believe that if God is, that He might love us. And more, yes even more, that He might try.
But for now this broken insect has sucked fully down the drain, leaving not a trace for me to ponder.