The company we keep

Why do some Midges mosey about as if they’re drunk, while others are indefatigable? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer for you. But it is the most pressing question on my mind, sitting underneath this lime tree.

 I watch them for a while and think about their ambition. Why have they gathered here? They’re using the space well, spread thin across several metres, like a ration of butter on your morning toast. Perhaps they are here for the company – I only speculate this because apart from colliding with each other they don’t appear to be doing much. I am distracted by a bug that lands on my chest. It is considerably ugly. It has mulchy wings that taper off, and an alien tail protruding from underneath its abdomen. A second one hovers nearby. They leave together.

 The sun is setting on my left, though it’s still high enough to throw a fine-looking variegation over the grass; green and yellow are friends, and they’ve always been a favourite colour combination of mine. There are three minuscule red spiders on the seat next to me. I suspect they must be up to something as two of them keep retreating to their secret world on the underside of the bench. They’re the sort of red that you see at the end of a fire, once everything is done burning, but they move too much for that comparison. For me, this colour means ‘leave me alone’.

 The midges are leaving in groups of ten or more, they must have a buddy system. Everybody here appears to have a friend. I begin to think of my own solitude in this moment, why I brought myself here alone. But I don’t have time to finish that thought because the clouds have journeyed over, and it starts to rain.


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