The smell, inhaled old summer, stale. And dirty. The dash of my car is beyond dusty, coated in white that doesn’t clean. The rough film only cuts paths to the sneezed on spit on the windshield. I make a note to use my fancy glass cleaner, and another one to buy Allegra before allergy season hits.
I didn’t notice the fly at first. I always roll my windows up at night after I park in the humid musk of farm building turned garage. The fly makes his presence known when he is least welcome, when I am speeding north on the highway to my writing group.
I can open the window. I try. Just a crack. I swipe my hand up. He dodges. He’s gone. I’m sure. I focus on my anxiety at the comments to come. The month before was kinder than I had ever experienced before for the novel, Tzi’. I admit again to myself, it will probably always be a difficult novel to read.
(T) z i’ not Zzzz zee.
If I publish it, that tale will be my third novel, not first. The makeup of the critique group usually determines how much I care, how much the light touch of insect antennas lingers and bothers.
I push the feeling down into my stomach. It bumps against a space I’m not sure is big enough to be considered hungry.
I wait at a stop sign I should have avoided. It is an impossible left turn. I will the other drivers to go around. They still have a choice. I can only wait. Gravel crunches in the parking lot. I open the car door.
I order a sandwich.
Bread. The puckered folds dotted with seeds sop up my sweat.
“You don’t need to add a parenthesis to translate.” I offer to the novel about the Philippine main character who speaks Taglog, Spanish and English.
The author is interrupted by another member sitting across from me. “It’s a movement. That you shouldn’t have to put who you are in a parenthesis.”
“I don’t think you have to-” I begin again.
“We’ll revisit this in yours.” She bites her sandwich. The waitress interrupts the chewing.
Turkey. Layered skin alongside my skin. First lips. Then tongue.
I bite it.
“Well, at least embed the meaning, if it matters, in the text.”
I return home in gray dusk. At our next meeting, the world will have lost enough access to light to require bulbs. Headlights. Artificial burning attracts more bugs. At this time, next time, the road will be dark.
I sense an annoyance against my thigh.
Parenthesis. Antennas. No. Legs.
A tickle on my arm.
Need to spell it out.
The fly is here. He never left. I crack my window again. Why is the fly still here? Why hadn’t he taken the opportunity I had given him? It must have been the wind. The air rushing by must have pushed him back.
Why can’t you be confused?
I shake my head.
Be patient? I shudder. Look something up? I twitch.
I open the window all the way. Books are mirrors and windows. Someone always says that.
But, we don’t use them. The fly. Why doesn’t he use the window?
Too awkwardly, I attempt to corral him. I lose sight of him again.
Buzz. I openned the door. Bzzzzz. As long as I open the door, I can’t ever be sure the fly is gone.