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The Wasp

Written in April of 2022.






There is a wasp trapped between the window and the screen above my sister’s kitchen sink. The wasp is not frenzied, not even buzzing. Perhaps it’s exhausted, tired of fighting the invisible enemy that has trapped it. It’s just walking calmly up the window- an early stage of surrender or is it submission? Anyway, it appears to be exploring, searching I imagine, for the exit to freedom- back through the portal by which it entered.


Yesterday, this wasp, at least I think it was the same one, was on the inside of this window. I noticed it while I was doing our dinner dishes. At my own home, I have attempted to reason with critters who have found their way inside. “From now on, if you stay out of my home,” I say, “I will stay out of yours.” To illustrate my commitment, I capture the critter under a drinking glass, slide a cardboard under the glass and carry the temporary prison outside where I release the rascal back to its natural habitat. This works well for both of us.


Yesterday however, my sister’s wasp had climbed up to a point on the kitchen window where it was out of my reach. In a previous discussion with my sister, I learned that the screens on her windows don’t come off. I doubted that, but couldn’t find any way to release this one. I gave up, hoping the wasp would find its way out on its own.


I wonder, how did the wasp get between the inside window and the screen? I think that would be valuable to know. I’d like to prevent it from happening again, to me and to others. Someone, like one of my know-pretty-much-everything brothers, would probably examine the window’s construction and offer a logical answer. Maybe along with it, a story from personal experience, the kind that helps me understand and remember.


It’s been a few days since I wrote that. I’ve been at my sister’s bedside in a round-the-clock vigil at the hospital. Now, I am without a reason to return there.


Her house is dead quiet. At the kitchen sink, I notice the wasp lies motionless on the sill between the windowpane and the screen. I cannot help but wonder if I could have done something differently.