I swallowed a flea.
“I know it’s the first day of summer, guys, but we really need to tackle this.” I announce to four scratching saints yesterday, their flea-bitten legs propped up on the ottoman as sad evidence.
I roll out a detailed explanation on the life-cycle of a flea, and a plan for the day-long, team-effort we’d need to eradicate the infestation. There was despair in the air everywhere. It was not the dreamy way we all hoped to start summer 2012.
“Did you know that if you swallow a flea, you can actually get tapeworm?” I added for extra horror and motivation to the listening audience. “Let’s work hard and knock it out!”
Grim vacuuming and spraying ensued. We sighed. We carried loads of textiles to the basement like weary Sherpas. We checked each other for red bites and banned the animals to the porch. I pawned some jewelry to pay for the pet treatments.
The first day of summer was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
And then, bending over the hard-working dryer last night, I actually swallowed a flea.
My mom always told me if I didn’t close my mouth something would fly right in.
Its been a while since my last essay, and in that short two-week span I’ve absorbed more beauty and delight than any soul this side of heaven deserves. I’ve walked exotic and cobbled streets holding hands with my lover. I’ve soaked up sun and full moons, olive oil and incense. I’ve laughed and kissed and talked for hours.
As I sit down to write again, I reach for words and story that will articulate beauty and history, love and art; a story that will inspire and encourage the saints. But I only return to a very, very small weird fact.
A small flea is in me.
There has to be some significance in this, which I have yet to discover? When I am less jet-lagged, perhaps I’ll have some greater understanding to share with you. Hopefully (please, God) it will not include the word tapeworm.
Joy to you in all life’s mysteries!