I have my favorites: cicadas, which are big and noisy and easily confused into slapstick maneuvers when they occasionally wind up indoors; moths, which must be escorted out before they head for the closet to multiply; spiders, which eat mosquitoes that sneak inside for pre-dawn attacks; crickets, which like to show off by leaping into laundry baskets; and, of course, ladybugs.

I’m told they’re good luck.

When I can, I catch them or coax them onto a tissue or piece of paper and set them free in the yard. When I can’t, I mostly ignore them and hope they’ll leave me alone.

But a couple of nights ago I dropped one of those sweet little beetles as I was transporting it from my nightstand to the window. Unfortunately, it dropped on the wooden floor, and, well, at night, with bad eyes, under poor lighting, I couldn’t find it.

All night long I was half between waking and sleeping, expecting to be roused by the sensation of mini bug feet on my forehead. (Flashback to me at the age of seven, awakening to the scratch of parakeet claws on my brow. No matter how my parents “fixed” the door on his cage, he always found a way out, always in the middle of the night.) But it never happened. And so, I rolled out of bed at 6:30, sleep-deprived, reaching for the pill I take every morning—always set out the night before, popping it mindlessly into my mouth, washing it down with a few swigs of water, and starting my day.


It’s funny how many of our routine movements are on automatic, done unconsciously.

Take locking the door for instance. How many times have you been thinking of something else while you’re locking the door, and then get into your car and wonder whether or not you locked it?

Anyway, after replacing the lid on the pill box, making the bed, and getting dressed, I got involved in everything else I had to do, propelled by vast amounts of coffee.

By midnight, I was ready to crash, and dragged upstairs to change and set out my pill for the next morning.

Except when I opened the box, the ladybug was sitting smack in the center of it…

And I could swear it smiled.

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