not the house I was expecting

One Sunday afternoon, when it was scorchingly hot, I went to the study, which is eastward facing, to open the windows up and let some air in. Upon doing so, I discovered a small fly, buzzing around the fly-screen, perhaps trying to figure out a way to get out.

(I remember my mum saying a number of times that day that it was probably cooler outside than it was inside, but I’m sure it was equally humid outside despite the breeze (when there was one). Besides, we always had the option of air-con if it came down to it. (Even in extreme heat, as it was that day, I like to use air-con sparingly because, you know, it uses a lot of electricity, and apparently I care about that kind of thing.))

This particular window, at which I found the fly, has bars on in, so it’s not exactly easy fly-swatting territory. I also didn’t want to use fly spray because, well, that doesn’t always work effectively, and they fly off to die somewhere else, possibly not to be discovered until some days later. Besides, the wind was blowing inward, so that probably would not have worked. (Truth be told, I think I was suffering so much from the heat, I didn’t even think about fly spray at all.)

As luck would have it, though, there were some small plastic cups on a table nearby (not for drinking purposes, but from some craft thing my sister had done and subsequently finished/abandoned). I’m sure the fly was also struggling under some form of heatstroke (I exaggerate here, because I don’t think that I was really that out of it, but I’m sure the heat has affected my memory to some degree) because it didn’t take much time for me to trap it in the cup. Once this was done, I took it outside, to the furthest corner of the backyard, to release it, with the hope that it wouldn’t follow me back inside.

I think I must’ve been wearing something quite lucky that day because when I got to the back of the yard, I happened to notice that there were not one but …several (honestly, who thinks about counting things when all you want to do is get rid of a fly and go back inside and read a book?) – several spiders’ webs in the apple guava tree in the corner.

Perfect, I thought, I’ll release it into one of these spiders’ webs, and then I’ll know it’s not going to follow me back inside.

And it actually was as easy as that: I held the cup up to the nearest web, removed the scrap of paper I was holding over the opening, and the fly flew right into the web and was thus ensnared.

I watched it for a moment, and the first thought that occurred to me was, Perhaps there is a bit of Slytherin in me.

I don’t know why I had this thought – I hadn’t been re-reading or re-watching the Harry Potter series; hadn’t had any recent discussions about it with friends; hadn’t even been thinking about it that day (not that I remember, anyway) – but there it was, that one off-hand thought.

When I was younger, and I did those personality quizzes that told you which House you’d be in if you went to Hogwarts, I usually got, well, pretty much any of the other three (mostly Ravenclaw, if I remember correctly, because I was a bit of a nerd – and arguably still am). I cannot remember ever feeling inclined to select the options that would put me in Slytherin (they were always multiple-choice, and it was always obvious which options leaned toward which House). (Side note: I’m really liking how my spell-checker is fully accepting all of these HP-related words.)

But, of course, in life, there are rarely absolutes when it comes to things like personality categories, especially as determined by poorly designed quizzes. I must say, though, that I released the fly into the web as a matter of ensuring it would not bother me again, not because I wanted to be mean to the fly. (I also kind of wanted to see what the spider would do with the fly, but it just completely ignored it. How rude!)


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