There was a fly in the van.
It was the last survivor of a three-fly army that stormed our car when we opened the doors of the van to leave on our road trip. We conquered the first two driving out of town with a couple of strategies. One succumbed to a well-placed whack of my husband’s cap. The second one promptly understood that an open window meant freedom and took the first chance it could. This last one fought a good battle, dodging the hat and stubbornly, or stupidly, refusing to take the window exit we kept offering.
So we quit. But the fly would not.
It would terrify my three-year-old germ phobic who, strapped to his car seat, could only shriek and flail. It would buzz past my husband who was driving and fly around his head. It would land on my daughter’s leg causing her to scream and kick the back of my seat.
I was trying to read a sweet book on adoption stories that a friend had loaned me the previous night to enjoy while sitting at the beach on our trip. I was in the middle of a tender story about a young orphan who had just met her adoptive mother when I saw it. It landed right by the closed window and it sat there, rubbing its tiny legs, gearing up for the next round of terrorizing my family.
I decided to open the window to force the fly to leave. I would use the book to create a barrier between the fly and the rest of the car so the insect could not do what it had been doing every time it was confronted by a wide open exit: retrieve to the back of the car. I figured a fly that, against all logic, flew away from the freedom of an open window could not be very bright. So I, being of the smarter species, would help usher it out and liberate us all from the pest.
I carefully opened the window. The fly did not move. I posed the book open as a backdrop. The fly still didn’t budge. Then I gently and slowly moved the book towards the bug to force it to fly, while holding the book open and lifting it to create a wall. It was going well until the pages of the book caught the wind coming from the open window of the van going over seventy miles per hour. In less time than it took for me to say “shoo, fly” the book was out of my hands and flying towards the semi several feet behind us, as the reflection in the rearview mirror told me. The book managed to miss the truck and landed on the side of the busy highway, thankfully not causing a multiple car pile-up.
I quickly closed the window and sat there speechless and wide-eyed. I looked at Matt and he looked at me, both of us trying to figure out what the heck had just happened and why I was now bookless, when the blessed fly flew from the back of car and landed in the console right before me.
I swear it was smiling.
I swear it was smiling.