Maybe I could have done things differently. The ladybird on the bathroom wall was probably escaping the first snow fall, looking to hibernate but I crushed it inside toilet paper. I wiped away its orange guts with the ball of tissue that contained its wings, legs and tiny heart. I threw it all into the toilet where it’s normal for bodily fluids to get forgotten. Normal.

Nicole Kidman says she doesn’t kill spiders or even ants. I wonder if that’s because she has people to do that for her? There comes a time when we all question our humanity doesn’t there. I once had a roommate who said she had a woman who had her periods for her. Once a month her mother sent her chocolate cake in a tin and she’d eat it (while on the phone to her mother) directly from the tin, using her forefinger and thumb, careful not to allow cake to collect under her manicured nails. I almost believed her because her hair was so silky and she wore matching underwear sets that she hand washed in the basin in the bathroom. I saw her at a reunion last year, she carried her baby son on her hip.

Ladybirds actually have an open circulatory system, they don’t have a heart as we know it. I don’t know whether they have tears.

It was wrong of me to take a life.

I could have made a warm matchbox bed for it. I could have checked on my ladybird from time to time when I couldn’t sleep.

It isn’t normal to forget.

I should have held it close, listened to it breathing, lay beside it in case it woke up, carried it on my hip, even sent it a chocolate cake in a tin when it grew up, done anything to protect it.

***

Marissa Hoffmann is recently published in Bending Genres, and is variously long and short listed in competitions. www.marissahoffmann.com She occasionally tweets @Hoffmannwriter and welcomes an annual loveliness of ladybirds on the south facing wall of her home.

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