BATANG MINDANAO: Intervention

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 May) – A winged red ant climbed onto my neck, attracted by the laptop light. I swat, and it falls onto the keyboard, and it doesn’t fly off. Maybe I broke its wing.

I had chemistry on one Google Chrome tab and Game of Thrones in VLC in the window beside it.

Maybe I had grown tired of routine.

Perhaps I was bored, or too idle; maybe it was a momentary spark of something like madness or curiosity.

It clings weakly onto the nib of my pen, and I wonder at offering salvation. I can’t feed it. I can’t keep it. And if I let it out, it would still just die.

I whisk it away from the P key where it lay, get up off my bed and walk the few steps to The Bathroom Corner – location of a thriving spider colony, and deposit it in the web of one particularly large occupant.

Nothing moves.

I exit, shut the door, count to three, and only return in time to watch the spider strike.

It pulls swathes of its web and jumps on the ant, pouncing within milliseconds, and once it has the ant in its clutches, it is efficiently wrapping it in web, very quickly. I am momentarily hypnotized by the motion. The ant is still alive, shrinking in on itself and folding into its joints; an exoskeleton movement. I choose not to save it a second time. I would deprive the spider of an unasked for boon, and anyway, I am driven by some macabre pull to remain a spectator.

The spider doggedly continues, its spindly swinging body supported by stringy and yet strong limbs, displaying the dexterity and efficiency of a factory worker on some arthropod assembly line. I wonder if it’ll choose to preserve or consume – the latter option painting it bright Greed, against the backdrop of so many carcasses of another, smaller kind of ant.

The spider wraps and wraps, and soon, the little body’s littler head descends upon my innocent, approaching the sacrifice to partake of the all-powerful deity’s blessing of ant blood. A life feeds a life.

I return to my bed, dazed; exam tomorrow or later in the day, forgotten or abandoned. I lie down but remain awake.

For I see.

I am deus ex machina.

(Sage Danielle T. Ilagan is a BS Biology sophomore at UP Visayas who is at the moment undecided about coming home to Duterte country for the summer.)