Jack, Our Pet Fly
As soon as I heard that recognizable buzz soar past my ears in the kitchen, I knew we had a fly in the house. This would not be a huge problem for most people but I become slightly obsessive when a fly is loose in the house, especially if it’s loud and keeps getting all up in my business.
This one was so loud and so big that Shaila announced she thought we had a bee in the house. Well, she didn’t really announce it. She screamed it at a decibel meant only for small animals. Perhaps the fly itself.
Nico saw the fly, however, and saw a pet. Dogless, catless, hamsterless, the poor guy just wants to catch a break and have a pet to love and call his own. I don’t blame the guy. I actually understand. I remember in the 2nd grade, we had to grow fruit flies at school and I begged my team to let me be the one to get to take the fruit flies home in their little container.
I never had a pet when I was little because most Indian people in my parents generation just didn’t do pets. Pets were a luxury and in addition to saving money for their own families, most Indians were sending money back home to India. There was no space for a dog in that mix.
Now, we don’t have pets because wouldn’t you know it? Both John and I are terribly allergic. I am epi-pen allergic to cats and John is just a bloody nightmare around all animals. I keep pretending that I am not really allergic to dogs, though the tests say otherwise, because a part of me is always still hopeful.
Anyway, going back to Nico, I understood his need to connect with that fly, just as I had hoped to nurture that group of fruit flies till I was practically walking them on a leash.
“Jack!” He announced. “I am going to call him Jack,” he declared proudly.
The rest of us weren’t quite sure what to make of this announcement but decided that Jack was as good a name as any.
All morning, as the fly buzzed past him, Nico would say something witty to Jack and they would have a giggle. It was all great fun, until John walked into the kitchen and with a back a magazine, swatted Jack all the way to flea heaven.
“Jack!!!!” Nico screamed. “You killed Jack!”
I think John felt a little bit of guilt but not too much because he was literally going crazy from the sound of that bug going back and forth. Nico could not be consoled.
“I loved you, Jackie. You were the best friend ever.” Big tears rolled down his face
We said a few words to remember Jack and then went about our day.
It wasn’t as easy for Nico, who kept Jack in his thoughts all day.
Time to go to the pool, Nico. “I wonder if Jack has a pool in Heaven?”
Time for dinner, Nico. “Do flies eat in fly heaven?” he wondered
It took a while but we were finally able to say good-bye to Jack the Fly. But I’ll never forget the day that my son befriended a fly, if only so I can make fun of him about it in years to come.