The darkness turns gray; the misty fog rests over the water; the honeysuckle perfumes the air as white petals float on the still water.
Beneath the surface, new life begins. The shell splits open, the wet insect emerges and swims toward the light.
The mayfly eats her first meal. Her only meal. Algae.
She breaks the water’s surface. The sunbeams stream through the golden-laced clouds. Life stretches before her.
She spreads her wings as the breeze carries her to the riverbank. She rests on a leaf.
Others of her kind have joined her, translucent wings folded, silent observers.
Her wings are dry. She watches the cloud of flies hovering over the water, thousands of black specks.
She decides to join the dance.
She does not want to leave. Just a dot in the mass. They are dancing. Buzzing.
Swarming. Trembling. Flitting. Bouncing. Hovering.
The dance slows.
She is tired, but stays a little longer.
It is time.
She flits to the water’s surface.
Beneath her, the jelly-skinned eggs float to the bottom of the river.
Her own strength is expelled. The mayfly’s translucent wings become invisible in the liquid, as her body floats amidst the flower petals.
The golden rays of sunshine turn gray.
Rebekah Ricksecker lives and works as a college track and field coach in Virginia. When she’s not working or writing, she spends her time exploring the winding back-roads of the Blue Ridge mountains on her bike, traveling, and taking care of her brother’s [apparently permanently adopted] gorgeously obese tuxedo cat. “One Day” was originally published in LAMP literary magazine. Her work has also been featured in Modern Literature.
This piece was originally published in the Fall 2011 issue of Lamp literary magazine.