Living on an island in the Caribbean, you become accustomed to certain things that maybe you wouldn’t think of while living on the mainland or up north…the added cost to have products shipped here, the winds off the ocean everyday and the existence of ants. This time of year represents for many of us a big incoming of both Spring-breakers as well as the season when ants begin to bare their tiny heads. Every time I see one, I’m there with the bug spray and the tissue in hand…ready to scoop it up and run him to the toilet bowl to flush him down before he’s able to make more of his kind. Sometimes I don’t have time for all that and I’m forced to flick them away or step on him as he’s running across the living room…but with many of these methods, you are never sure where the body is going to land or end up…one of the reasons I no longer walk around the house barefoot!
This morning, I’m getting ready to make breakfast when I saw one of those persistent ants…except this time, I couldn’t kill him. He was walking across my counter extra slow so I certainly would have had the time to run to the bathroom to arm myself with a tissue and to locate that can of bug spray! But the reason he was walking so slow is because he was weighed down by the body of one of his fallen comrades…probably the body of an ant that I had flicked earlier. He had his body flung over his shoulder, causing him to walk slower than the fast dash to safety behind the blender or between the tiles he would normally make. He was searching for a proper resting place for his buddy…or was it his mother or brother or sister…or best friend or wife? I gotta tell ya’, to me, they all look the same…but he seemed to take the trouble of carrying this fallen comrade to safety so he must have known who he or she was. The ant would peer over the edge of the counter on one side and look straight down the sharp drop to the floor…not a wise path to take. Then he would hoist his load down to the front of the counter where he found the rounded ceramic edge which he followed until he realized the only option he had there was to scale the edge and meet the cabinet under the sink…another sharp drop down. Instead, he made a u-turn and maybe stopped for a second to make sure he still had a strong hold of his friend…maybe hitching the body further up on his shoulder…before he started his hike to the far back end of the counter where he had remembered I kept a blender and under the blender they went to never be seen again…I don’t know how this laboring ant may have left himself after this exhausting 20 minute journey he had just barely survived my tissue and bug spray but I can tell you that while witnessing it, I had cried the whole time. We should all be so lucky as this fallen comrade…to end up in the hands of a loved one before dying who would make sure we are laid to rest somewhere in peace…as opposed to being flushed down the toilet.