Lovebugs

I’ve mentioned my contempt for bugs (with the exception of the lightning bug). Yet for some reason I am compelled to write about insects again. I shouldn’t be writing at all – I am terribly exhausted.  But this memory has been haunting me, coercing me to purge it from my mind and into this text.

When I was younger, I had an affinity for love bugs. Growing up in New Orleans, they were as common as the cockroach, though far less foul. The average lifespan of a lovebug is one week to ten days. Once the females emerge, mating takes place almost immediately. The bugs spend the majority of their lives copulating. A male and a female will attach at their ends and stay that way at all times, even in flight. After mating, the male dies but the lovers remain connected. Everywhere she goes, the female carries the dead body of her companion until she is ready to lay her eggs.  How faithful to her suitor the female appears, or is she just tolerating him? Is it devotion, or the inability to let go?

In the warm summer days of my adolescence, I would willingly allow lovebugs to crawl on my skin. I took pleasure in the tickling sensation they provided when creeping along the flesh of my arm.

Sometimes, I would rip them apart from each other. I did this with no intention of cruelty, but because I was able and curious. (Yes, much like the slugs.) My innocence could not comprehend the intimacy which I was defacing.

But this is not the only carnage that I imposed upon the defenseless lovebug. I clearly recall trapping a great deal of them in a glass jar. This was done out of affection; they were to be my beloved pets. Tragically, when I awoke the following day there was nothing more than a jar of corpses. I sat in the backyard and cried, ashamed of my lovebug holocaust and embarrassed about my stupidity concerning life.

I threw the jar in the garbage can outside and tried to dismiss the ugly slaughter, but I could never quite forget.  It’s forever difficult to leave such piercing memories behind.

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4 Responses to “Lovebugs”

  1. dave Says:

    “After mating, the male dies but the lovers remain connected. Everywhere she goes, the female carries the dead body of her companion until she is ready to lay her eggs.” – sounds like marriage….

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