Fly Away Home

I love retirement. In the morning, when folks are standing at the bus stop outside my house, I hang on the fence and say hello to them, ask how they’re doing, where they’re headed.  

Mr. Titsumi is my favorite.  A man older than I, he is almost always headed for his dojo where he says he spends the majority of his time training his eyes to see through the back of his head.  Sometimes when he’s standing there with his back to me, I wave to him, just to check on his progress.  So far, he hasn’t waved back.

That particular morning, while I was talking to Mr. Titsumi about martial arts, a silver-blue ladybug came to rest on the back of my hand.  “Oh look,” I said, “people say that’s a sign of good luck.”  I pointed to the bug.

“Yes,” said Mr. Titsumi, “it is very lucky indeed.  And you must be very careful not to shoo it away.  It is important for a ladybug to leave of its own accord.  You are its keeper, its protector, until it releases you from that obligation.  Then, and only then, will your full portion of good fortune come to you, whatever that may entail.”

When the bus came, the lady bug was still sitting on my hand.  Mr. Titsumi had his back to me, so I know he didn’t see me try to brush it away as he stepped up.  But it stuck like glue.

Mr. Titsumi waved to me from his seat on the bus.  I pointed to the little bug on my hand, showing him that I was still taking good care of it.

The bus pulled away. When I was sure Mr. Titsumi could no longer see me, I blew hard on the bug to try to get it off. It was unmoved.

I walked up on my front porch and sat down.  I examined the bug.  It hadn’t moved. It was as if it had dropped anchor, dug in like a voracious tick.

Using the index finger of my other hand, I tried to flick it off.  It stuck there as if cemented on with crazy glue.

I was definitely not feeling lucky yet.

That night I sat on my porch, examining the little creature that had adopted me.  Perhaps permanently. I wondered if I should name it.

I’d taken the plastic inner roll of a scotch tape dispenser and taped it to the back of my hand, like a little fortress for my new friend.

A bus stopped, and Mr. Titisumi got off.  He waved to me.  “Have you been blessed with any good fortune since this morning?” he called.

I looked at the little bug, then said, “Nothing yet.”

“I’ll be watching for something good to happen to you,” he said, then walked off.

When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to see that the ladybug was gone.  I hoped I hadn’t crushed it in my sleep.  I removed the scotch tape roll and went to get a cup of coffee.

I was shocked to see that I’d left the coffee pot turned on all night.  There’d been no fire, thankfully, but the plastic housing was melted, sagging to the side, and the carafe had cracked. There was coffee all over the counter.

I went to my garage, determined to drive down to Nuʻuanu Shopping Plaza for a Starbucks coffee.  I jumped in and hit the start button of my Leaf.  Nothing.  I noticed that the battery was at 0%.

After I’d plugged in the charging cable, I went back in my house and heated some water on the stove.  I bit the bullet and took out a packet of my emergency instant decaf coffee and dumped it into a cup. I hate instant coffee.

I went to sit out on the porch.  I wanted to tell Mr. Titsumi about the tenacious little bug.  I waited, but Mr. Titsumi never came for the bus.  That was odd.  He never missed the bus on a weekday.  

Day after day I’ve looked for him, but to this day, I’ve never seen Mr. Titsumi again.

* * * * *

Today’s prompt is

fortune

Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I’d love to read it : )

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