Life Underground

By Avra Margariti

I’ve recently joined this Facebook group where people around the world roleplay as ants—no, not like that. Nothing weird, just unusual. I suspect I enjoy feeling like I’m part of something.

I tried telling my therapist about the colony, but I could tell from the switching railroad tracks of her eyebrows that she didn’t understand. So I talked about how I feel like I’m in danger even when I’m safe. How, in romantic relationships, I feel loved even when I’m not. Especially then.

I power up my home computer first thing after work. Sloane’82 posts: A western tunnel has collapsed, anyant willing to help?

Dig, go people in the comments. Dig dig dig. I type the three letters into the bar and hit send thinking, I did it. I accomplished something.

When I’m not in therapy, I make lists of things I should bring up next session. I saw my ex walking his dog and felt like gnashing my teeth at him but instead I made small talk and exchanged pleasantries. There was a fake bomb threat at the mall where I get almond-milk lattes even though I don’t like the way they make my gums taste. At night I dream about sleeping in nests with the other ants, safe in the crowd, underground.

I should probably delete this last one.

An Australian named Robbie Fighter posts a picture of a red lollipop his toddler dropped on their lawn. Anyant wanna help carry it to the colony?

Lift, go the group members in the comments. Lift lift lift.

I stay up all night, burnt coffee and yellow streetlight, refreshing the page until dawn breaks and mends itself into morning. My voicemail blinks its angry red eye. My boss, or maybe an insurance salesman, like my ex. Or, why not, a bomb prank.

I pay it no mind, entranced by the sheer number of colony members responding. The lollipop must have made it safely underground by now. Everyant has been working so hard, they deserve a sweet treat.

My fingers tremble as they type. I know no-ant needs me, but it still feels good to be part of something.


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Image by Sergio Cerrato from Pixabay