Shabbos Party with Ants
Every Shabbos, after my father had trudged upstairs for his post-lunch nap, at some magical moment in the long afternoon, between squabbles over who got to read the latest Yair Weinstock novel and whose turn it was to take the little ones to the park, my mother would dole out our weekly ration of candy from the basket above the kitchen counter.
Our bounty varied from week to week. When the basket was half empty, we’d have to make do with chocolate chips, but other times, like after Purim, the basket burst with precious goodies: lollipops, chocolate bars, gummy bears.
One Shabbos, the basket held a rare treat: jellybeans. My mother counted out sixteen of the pink, blue and yellow candies into each of our plastic bowls. I loved the gelatinous give of the jellybean in my jaw and the careful peeling of the hard sweet shell with my teeth that left the naked core of the candy resting on my tongue.
Mid-feast my mother told me to get my little brother a change of clothing from upstairs. I stashed my bowl on the back corner of the bottom shelf of the bookcases, safe from my brothers and sisters sticky fingers. When I finally got back from doing my chore, I was relieved to see my bowl was still there. I grabbed all the remaining jelly beans and jammed them into my mouth, crushing them into a gooey mass of sweet deliciousness.
Thirty minutes later, the acidic urge to vomit propelled me to the toilet, where I hacked up three tiny little black beads: a dismembered ant. Apparently it had found my candy, and I had swallowed it unknowingly.
“My body can’t handle the not-kosherness of an ant!” I told my mother, in awe of the spiritual discrimination of my digestive system.
I’m remembering this, because last night, I felt a fuzzy tickle make its ways across my lips. Half-awake, I brushed whatever was there away. A moment later, I felt the same tickle dancing down my arm. I grabbed at the spot and my fingers pinched a a tiny scrambling creature that I tossed to the floor. As I drifted back to sleep, I was awed by my calmness, and I remembered throwing up that ant so many years ago.
Apparently my body is not so discriminating anymore. I can now handle an invasive creepy crawly or two.Printable Version