When I was a kid, really little, someone gave me a metal ladybug. I took it with me everywhere. Including a car trip to the grocery store–our last trip together anywhere.
It was hot out. I was sitting in the back seat with the window partly down, forearm outside, extra special wind-up metal ladybug held tightly within my hand as I mimicked the up-down rollercoaster waves of–what else?–ladybug flight. Everything was going so well. The breeze coming in was cooling, the wind resistance against my arm was invigorating, and I was too engrossed in flying to be annoyed by my sister sitting next to me.
And then it happened. I accidentally let the extra special wind-up metal ladybug slip from my grasp and fly away, the loss of which broke my heart. It all happened so confusingly quickly–one moment it was in my hand, the next it wasn’t. We were in the flow of traffic, so I didn’t hear it hit the pavement, the sound of which surely would have provided some much-needed closure.
I didn’t think I’d ever get over the loss. That ladybug fit so perfectly in my hand. The sound of its wheels, when rolled backwards for winding it, was so perfectly mechanical. All of my own dreams of flying were wrapped up in that red and black metal casing, possibly the essence of childhood was wrapped up in there as well. The extra special wind-up metal ladybug meant everything to me then–why didn’t my mother stop the car right there in the middle of that very busy road so we could retrieve it? Didn’t she know how much it meant to me? Didn’t she care? Could getting to the grocery store possibly have been so important that we couldn’t turn around for the extra special wind-up metal ladybug?
You shouldn’t have had your arm out the window anyway, my mom said, you could’ve lost that, too.