Placemat

The night has fallen over the lake. As a matter of fact, it has fallen over the forest and the mountains too. So has it over the ant colony.

In a certain language, people has an expression which says “dried-up shore from faraway has sunken into dreams”. Such an expression, however, does not depict tonight literally at all. First, the lake keeps rushing tiny waves up its shore. Second, despite the new moon night – which is a queer phrase too because new moon is actually no moon at all – nocturnal creatures, like crickets, are waking up.

Ants are not nocturnal, mostly. But the rights to struggle with insomnia is universal. Therefore, the worker ant has sneaked out of her bed, climbed up the edging and stayed there with all retinas eyeing the sky. The sky does not seem clear as she can only see a lone star blinking gently. 

The worker ant quietly talks to the star.

– You have moved up a bit today.

Yes, and you still sit on a rock.

– As always. Where else can I sit?

The wind blows by carrying with it a slightly long exhale.

What bothers you my lovely lady?

– How big is the world?

The lone star pauses for a while. Its intensity does not change. Neither does the caressing of the wind over the water that causes the constant tiny waves running to the shore.

You know there is only one way to find out.

– A cricket once told me the story he heard from his acquaintance, who in turn heard from somebody else.

It was about an army of ants heroically deployed across a kitchen table. They were trying to trace the source of the sweet that tasted like heaven. But then, a creature as enormous as earth itself appeared. It seized a placemat as vast as the sky, and swatted it down the army and demolished every ant. From then on, the sweet that tasted like heaven came down as a mere legend.

The lone star gives a sigh which somehow resonates to earth so much that the worker ant feels like she could hear it from behind.

Such a tragic story. But the hero ants went down in legend, didn’t they?

– You can say so.

The sky pulls its blanket and the lone star vanishes. An inconspicuous move runs through the grass and disappears, leaving the whole ecosystem deeply sunken in the night.

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