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We Are All Ants.

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My summer isn't beaches and vacations. My summer is money signs, just like everyone else. Cooped up in a tiny candy shop, clad in a demon's favorite polo, with a smock that could easily be reversed as a large sail. Instead of smelling suntan lotion and wet sand, I smell candy on the sole of my shoe, gummi in my hair. It disgusts me, but it pays me. My eyes are filled with the price tag of college tuition. College is more work to provide me with better work. Delayed gratification or a normal life? What is the secret to a normal life? Ah, but secrets have answers, and life is a mystery. And my life seems to be a prime example.

I went outside today. My mom called down to me that the mosquitos will eat me alive. I pull on an old grey sweater, even though it is 80 degrees. The front door whines as I open it, and instantly I felt the sticky air and the soft whisper of blowing wind. My dog barrels behind me, following me on the crunchy gravel trail into the wilderness. A swarm of flying insects start to circle me, like tiny buzzards of the desert. Maybe they can sense my dead soul, and that is what they are after.

All I smell out here is wild raspberries, swamp, and most importantly, fern. Fern is the forest here, so easy to get lost in. I sit underneath the fern, watching the sunlight trying to penetrate the thick leaves. It's a different world underneath there. If it's quiet enough, you'll hear the thousands of lives scurrying about. This makes me wonder if someone is sitting underneath fern somewhere else, somewhere bigger, listening to us scurrying about the universe. We are all ants.

I leave the fern and hit the trail again. I spot a dark pond on the side of the trail, shrouded in thickets of grass and brush. I can barely make out the outline of a few frogs swimming casually through the black. I try to get closer, but the mob of horseflies and mosquitos are relentless. A large horsefly darted underneath my hood, taking a bite out of my cheek. I walk faster, feeling the itchy bump left behind.

In my carelessness, I step on a large ant hill. A swarm of burgandy colored soldiers climb my shoe and swarm around my ankel. I let them all bite me a few times before I carefully brush them off. I destroyed their home, and I deserved a sting of punishment. A few steps further I lost my footing and fell on my hands and knees. Crimson bubbled over the top of the cut on my right palm. Instead of fighting it, wiping it away, I let it drip, hoping to tease the mosquitos.

My trip was almost over, my dog was growing a little tired. Ahead, I could see a figure, four legged, standing in the middle of the road. My eyesight was blurred; I couldn't tell whether it was an old dog, or something else. I walked faster, but more easily, so it wouldn't be frightened away. My dog ran in to the trees, oblivious to the other creature at the end of the road. As I got closer, I noticed it was a large deer. It was standing there, staring right at me, as if I wasn't important enough. It was completely amazing how she let off the sense of being completely uninterested in me, another creature that happened to be higher than her on the food chain. She hung her head and walked away casually, sniffing after a trail, probably one of her family members.

Tomorrow, I will dress in my demon's polo, my red apron, and I will see hundreds of strangers living their summers differently than I live mine. They are horseflies, buzzing around and around, when in actuality they have no place to go. I am the deer, on my trail, with a mellow mind and a heart filled with fern.





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