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segunda-feira, 2 de maio de 2011

The Ant and the Earbuds

He left home at that morning in such a hurry he forgot his earbuds. Oh yeah, so many things to forget, maybe one of his socks, maybe to put deodorant, or maybe comb his hair, wear by mistake a shirt with a smear of toothpaste, his wallet, anything, anything at all, but not the earbuds.

He got to the bus stop walking fast, with no time to go back to pick up the forgotten earbuds and then, while he was waiting for the bus, after straighten out his shirt when its seam seemed to itch his arm, he stood there blaming himself and complaining as if he was a ridiculous child with a beard, making voices, faces, stamping his foot, talking to himself, believing he was the only one listening. He was so focused in saying how stupid he was, he didn’t noticed that something else was happening.

The bus arrived and, for some reason, at that day it was not so full, he even had a place to sit. His facial expression changed, because he started to imagine that was the way of a superior being compensate the fact he was not just a stupid man who forgets earbuds and makes public ridiculous scenes, no, he was a stupid man who forgets earbuds and makes public ridiculous scenes, but he had a good soul, he deserved some kind of “appreciation” since his stupid act of forgetting would make that day harder than usual.

He sat feeling all special. Closed his eyes and everything went dark, as if the light of the bus was not on. He was tired in that way the body starts to having great interest and concentration on the task of sleeping, even if it is inside a metal box with wheels, shaking through the city.

Before someone could judge possible, he was not only sleeping, he was dreaming.

He was dreaming he was again at his messy room. He stood just looking at everything for a while, as if he didn’t knew that was his room, until he realized it was and, since he was there again, he could get the forgotten earbuds.

But, at the same moment he had this idea, everything seemed to get bigger while he seemed to sink into the floor. He was sinking, sinking and everything getting bigger and bigger until it all stop and he noticed he had the same size of an ant and, maybe, get now his earbuds would be very complicated. Perhaps even impossible.

But, even if it was impossible, he was decided.

The earbuds were on the table, in front of the bed, close to the clothes he was going to use that day. The clothes were usually prepared on the day before. A very useful trick which gave him a few more minutes of sleep, and also helped him to convince himself that he was organized in some way, even if everything else is his room, in his house and in his life, were all together saying something different.

And now, he was there with the size of an ant and, at the moment he thought about it, he became one ant for real, with antennae and all.

To get the earbuds it would be necessary to go to the table, climb it up and walk over the clothes. He started his walk and noticed how weird his room, by the point of view of an ant, was big like he had never imagined. He gave steps, steps and more steps and then he was there, somewhat tired, right in front of the table’s foot. He stopped not sure if he would be able to climb it, after all, he had never being an ant before and, sometimes, it is very complicated to make something right the first time, when we have never done it before.

But, even afraid, he was decided.

He placed his ant legs over the table’s foot and everything was much more simple than it seemed, like it always is, when these situations happen. His body simply knew what to do and he seemed to have the right strength to do it the right way. He thought ants would think it would be very complicated to brush teeth, tie the lace of shoes or any of these things humans do, just like him, when thinking like a human, thought climb up like an ant would be so hard. When he understood he was an ant and had to think the way of what he was, he climbed quick and easy, almost like he was brushing his teeth or tying his shoes.

That was the time the alarm of the cell phone rang.

He looked into the direction of the bed and saw himself in human form moving in an ungainly way, turning off the cell phone’s alarm and getting up, rising up big, like a gigantic building, built from the floor to the top, in seconds.

He observed himself taking of his pajamas and felt fear when his other self walked into the direction of the clothes, exactly where his ant self was. He was worried by his life and fragile body of ant. He ran what was possible to an ant and succeeded in getting below the folded pants.

Now, everything was so dark that he could not define a thing. The darkness remained for a few seconds and he started to think he was saved, but then his other self got the pants, exposing his ant body to the light once again. His human version was putting up the clothes and on his face he had a confuse expression that was a mix of worry, like he was late, with that half of a second that precedes the crying of a young child, as if he didn’t wanted to be there.

He considered scream to himself to remember him not to forget the earbuds, but it was not possible. He was just an ant. He tried to move his ant antennae with great energy, but there was no connection and no answer.

When his human version came in his direction again he noticed that by getting bellow the pants he ended up above the shirt his human self was going to wear. He had now to run again, as fast as possible, but, this time, there was not enough time.

The distance walked step by step by his small ant legs were nothing compared to the movements of his human version, which could move and breath and move the air along. He never imagined his breathing could be so loud or scary. He didn’t wanted to die smashed, didn’t wanted to forget his earbuds, didn’t wanted to end up killed by himself. He simply wanted that things could stop and suddenly change, as if it was a nightmare of which to escape he only needed to wake up. But he was not waking up. Things were what they were.

His human version got the shirt and he was dragged along. Stuck inside of a sleeve, he felt gravity pulling him down, but it had not enough strength to beat his ant hands, holding on to the fabric of the shirt, while his human version was dressing it up. Now he could feel the heat of his human body and moving was hard in the space between cloth and skin. It was not a good feeling, but his despair became bigger when he saw his human version ready to go and there, beside the place where the clothes where, the earbuds remained. Forgotten. Once again.

He lost control, started to move like crazy in the narrow, scary and hot space between skin and shirt, trying to push his human version. However, before he could see, everything became dark and warmer, he was pushed from one side to another, as if the walls where moving and in fact they were, in a way he could not know what was skin and what was cloth. He saw himself being smashed by his other self, his human version trying to put silence to a feeling he had on his skin, which maybe inside his head was nothing more than the seam of the shirt itching his arm, having no idea it was himself stuck inside of the body of an ant, trying to stop him from committing the same mistake once more.

It lasted only 3 seconds to his human version, but to his ant version, it was an enormous despair where time seemed to be in slow motion and it made everything last longer than he would like.

After that, he calmed down. He understood that if he could not keep control, he would really kill himself with the pressure his other self would put over him. He would end up dead. Dead, killed by himself.

He didn’t feel he could stay calm and in controlled for very long and could imagine the small amount of time it would take before he end up trying to talk with his other self again and then just to be crushed. His mind stopped talking for a little while and that was the time he remembered it was a dream. He wished to wake up.

He asked. Tried. Concentrated. But it didn’t worked.

He was still an ant and started to think that maybe he had never being something else. Perhaps he was always an ant and he only had one day a dream about being a human.

While he was thinking, his other self was doing his ridiculous child with a beard show, and he just stopped thinking when he noticed how ridiculous it actually was to see someone acting like that. He saw himself complaining about himself and about everything, making voices and faces, at that same bus stop, all because of the same earbuds.

What a ridiculous person to be.

For a moment he wished he really was an ant all the time and had no connection with that creature. He even considered biting the creature just for fun. But then, the bus arrived.

It was like his temperature changed, he felt like the touch between him, his human skin and shirt, became all together more gently, more cozy. It was like he, as an ant, was welcome.

When his human self sat, he became warmer, and warmer and then, not moving anymore. He noticed, in fact, he remembered, his human version was sleeping and then, convinced by the heat of someone who sleeps, felt like he had to get out of that space between cloth and skin, through the sleeve of his shirt.

He felt it was safe to walk over the skin, since his other self was sleeping, so he would not try to smash him. Walking, little by little, ant leg after ant leg, getting out of that heat, walking outside of the sleeve to his forearm. He stopped right where it was possible to look at his human face sleeping.

And then, at this moment, he woke up.

He woke up and saw an ant on his forearm, which really seemed to be looking at him.

The two looked at each other for a while and for a short and intense time, he didn’t knew if he was the man, the ant or both.

And then, still not knowing which one he was, he heard a familiar sound. Ringing. Sounding. Again. And again. It was the cell phone’s alarm and everything became dark and his clothes became his pajamas, the chair became his bed and he noticed he was back again at home, this time, waking up for real.

The first thing he did was look for an ant, there on the table, close to his clothes.

There was none.

He thought about the crazy dream he just had and what it could mean and then, forgetting it all and not minding if there was a message or not, he smiled.

It didn't mattered the meaning of the dream, or if he had understood it or not. That day, he would not forget, by any chance, his earbuds.