I was surprised to see you this morning, covered in a fine film of auburn grains. I immediately knew you were dead. The intonation of my exclamation reminded me sharply of my mother, though she would perhaps be reticent to acknowledge the distinctness of the refrain: “What in the hell!”
Numerous thoughts came to mind as I rolled open the top of the bag even further, inspecting to see if there were more of you. First, ants don’t like cinnamon. It’s touted on “natural” blogs as a chemical-free deterant so what were you doing in there, edging past the bread tie?
Second, sure, you had met your deaths, but how many of your ant-y friends had followed the same path as you and made it out alive? Were there ant fragments speckled throughout my cinnamon? What happens when insects die? Is there the same rush of consciousness that more sentient beings experience? Is your final resting place a sacred space, one chosen with grave sincerity and uncharacteristic resoluteness. You’ve spent your whole life as a cog in the wheel of antness. Now, in a final act of agency, you break the mold and strike out against the shackles that have bound you, deciding to go toward that which repels you: the dreaded cinnamon.
I can’t ignore the valour of your act. Nor can I ignore the fact that there were two of you. Was it a tandem decision? Did one follow the other with Romeo and Julietesque passion? Are all worker ants male and have I stumbled across the quiet remnants of forbidden love?
I’ll never find complete answers to my questions. I will continue on knowing that you, my dear dead ants, will not.
With trust that you’ll respect my decision to throw you and any cinnamon you may have touched into the garbage, I bid you rest in peace.