Debate: Part 2 (Fly Edition)

That you feel total confidence about the evening’s outcome irks you because you know from experience (parties, weddings, Masterpiece Theatre, vacations thwarted by pandemics) that 100% confidence only invites disaster.

You zoom to the grocery store for comfort-food ingredients and, once home, pile beans, chunks of purple onion and olives on top of tortilla chips in your favorite inherited baking dish, empty packets of grated cheese over everything, declare nachos and shove the dish in the oven. You wipe your brow with a Queen’s Jubilee tea towel and devour the sour cream you purchased, spooning it into your mouth with your fingers while declaring to air everything wrong with the world.

And then you grab a napkin and try pulling yourself together.

When you appear in your tween’s bedroom doorway with a cheerful Ta Da, he barely acknowledges you, deep, deep in his video game, mumbles over there as though you feed him dinner in his room with his beloved video games every night, though this is only the 2nd time in his lifetime you’ve allowed him to eat dinner while playing video games, and you’re a little stung, but also burdened by the 100% confidence that can only lead to disaster, so you forgive your tween and leave his plate of food on a pillow shaped like a storm trooper’s head and you rush downstairs and plop on the couch and activate your BP cuff and it begins.


But this time:

  1. You don’t pace the downstairs for the duration of the debate
  2. You fling your BP cuff to the couch cushions with a wild laugh
  3. You clap and cheer like a kid might for Wonder Woman, your bare feet up on the ottoman you share with a small white dog annoyed by your vocals.  

True: You wish her words annihilated the pale ghoul 1 plexiglass barrier away from giving her a deadly virus–but you 100% do not feel the same panic and outrage as when watching the spluttering orange ghoul last week.

And then: The Moment.

THE moment you will never forget, for the rest of your odd little life.

The moment you will explain, tomorrow, ad nauseum to your tween.

The moment you will share with your sisters, soul sisters, sisters of sisters of sisters of strangers, and the Travelocity operator refusing to give you your vacation refund.

The moment you will pass down to your grandkids, should you be fortunate enough to live long enough to meet them (you are an older mom, after all), with strict suggestions they pass the moment down to their children and so on, in writing, perhaps, maybe your own writing, or theirs, whatever works, etc, ad nauseum.  

The utterly unbleachable moment.

This moment: sends you into body-paralyzing wonder.

Of all the indoor evening venues, of all the exquisitely timed, random, perfect timings that have occurred in history (fill in the blanks), of all the pale ghouls in all the troubled worldyou–and entire populations–watched 1 fly land on 1 particular grease-haloed head of Covid-suffering hair–right as the hair’s owner lied, to billions.

Your husband returns home to find you cocooned in the 2 minutes and few seconds it takes for the fly to regale the planet. Your husband drops his briefcase to the tile and stares at the TV, muttering: Close your mouth, babe, before you swallow a fly.

Your husband helps himself to nachos, joins you on the couch, your face Francois Truffaut’s in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when he steps forward to greet the alien. My God, you whisper, your hand gliding to your cell phone and the second the fly departs the debate, you’re on Twitter. You scroll quickly, discovering the fly already has several Twitter accounts. Twitter explodes with the same awe you experienced and suddenly it’s difficult to respond when you hear voices calling your name.

Around midnight, you surface.

Your house is quiet.

Your small white dog snores.

And there is peace, my darling, in your particular portion of nation roiled.

You climb the stairs to bed, your pets following.

The next morning?

Your ballot arrives.

About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI.
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2 Responses to Debate: Part 2 (Fly Edition)

  1. Now, that’s a good ending!

Words do not escape you

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