A New Instar for Melba
As he walked out the door, suitcases in hand, Melba fell to the floor bawling.
“Why? Why me? Why now?” she cried in wolfish howls that shook her body.
“I’ve been trying so hard! And this is my reward?” she screamed, raising her fist to the sky.
When she exhausted her tears and her anger, she curled in her bed, still mumbling her questions.
“It seems that the more I work towards my growth, the smaller my world becomes,” she whispered as she nodded.
“It seems that the more I learn, the more pain I experience,” she mumbled as she fell into Dreamtime.
She was so hungry. She tried to move, but it was quiet difficult. All those legs! The multi-tasking was outrageous. It took her hours just to coordinate her legs so that she could give one step after the next. She was ravenous now. She crunched and munched her way to one leaf, then another. By the time nighttime came she had eaten several plants. Then the pains began. Horrible contractions crushed her from the outside. She got very warm, then hot. She itched all over. It seemed that something was prickling her all over the inside of her skin. All she could do was curl and cry. But after a while it was gone. She felt warm and safe now. Suddenly, she heard a terrible noise, as if her head was being crushed by a giant’s foot. Then the strangest thing happened. Her head fell off! Yes, most definitely her head had fell off. She felt it slipping to the ground. Yet, she still had a head, and a new, bigger fresh one at that. One by one, her segments fell off, until she realized that it was her skin falling away. Her old skin, that is. For below the old skin she had grown a new skin. And now she could keep eating without bumping into the restrictions of her small exoskeleton.
Melba woke up with a jump. She sat on bed, her back to the head of the bed, eyes wide open.
And then she began to laugh.
As hard as she had cried, she now laughed.
“Thanks,” she said, her eyes to the sky. “When I asked I was not expecting answers, for I did not take my own questions seriously. But I am glad that you answered them nonetheless.”
And as she looked at her bedroom, without his things thrown here and there, so that just opening her eyes made her angry and increased her to-do list, she felt the old skin falling.
Colors were brighter. Textures were softer. Spaces were wider. Light was magical.
She touched her skin and embraced herself.
“Welcome, new Instar,” she whispered. “You have outgrown your old skin, and now you are bigger and better. All that kept you from growing has fallen away.”
The relief was instant.
The sense of freedom was indescribable.
She could feel her wings growing from within.
March 10, 2015
New York, New York
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