The Gnat

The Gnat

A Story by Ethan Jobalia

(A gnat flies in through a door of a house. It lands on the base of a windowsill while a person is staring out.) A small bug sits on my windowsill. It is a small gnat. So small. I did not see it arrive, therefore it must have been there forever. It has been eternal, a part of the windowsill since time immemorial.

(The gnat crawls up the window.) Where goest thou, small gnat? What are you doing? What reason could you possibly have for such urgent movement. Your stomach is so small each inch you crawl must take up most of your energy. So why, then, why so frantic? There is no food here. You have nothing to gain from moving, going, running, living, loving, laughing, crying. Are you like me? Is there a reason we move? How human can one small gnat be? How human, more human than I, probably. At least I live under pretense. I live with thought and knowledge. I know what I do, even if what I do seems as pointless and busy as your hasty movements along the window. So do you then have your own reasons? Are you to me as I am to God? No. You are but a gnat. A small gnat. An insignificant gnat. You matter not. You are naught. You have taken too much of my time already. I am busy. Away gnat. Away!

(The person swats the gnat against the window, killing it.)

(A moment pause.) What have I done. I have not killed a gnat, or an insignificant being, but myself. Here was a microcosm of my world, my life, and now it lies dead. Gone. Never to be seen again. A life extinguished by my hand. Many may live who deserve death, and many may die who deserve life. Where does it become my turn to cast the stone? Never. It should not be. I would not murder a man, and yet here lies a man more than many in our own species. Dead by my hand. My hand. Why has my hand become a rebel? My hand has acted out against me, and against my morals. I would not kill a man. I would not kill a gnat. This was a rebel act, an involuntary motion before I could stop it. My hand has sinned and I am clean. I must be. No. It was not my hand. It was me. I killed this gnat, this man. There is no more I can do or say. It was a good time while I knew you. Thank you, friend. You knew me not, but I knew you. I knew you more than perhaps I know myself. I am sorry.

(A short while later, the person goes for a walk outside and walks through a swarm of gnats.) So many of you, all the same. All the same. Busy gnats who never rest. Always swarming, always eating. One gnat rested once. Rested upon a windowsill. But alas, his first movement, a waking from his respite, was his last. His rest may have saved him but his movement cast his doom. You all look like him, but are not him. You all act like him, but are not him. You all feel and seem and are like him, but are not him. No one is him. No one could be him. I did not know him, yet I knew him. I do not know you, yet I know you. I am sorry for your loss, and I am sorry you are what you are. I am sorry I am what I am. I am sorry.

© 2020 Ethan Jobalia


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Added on October 12, 2020
Last Updated on October 12, 2020
Tags: Moral, Short Story, Gnat, Bug, Window, Ethic, Life, Death

Author

Ethan Jobalia
Ethan Jobalia

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