Tiger Beetle – N. Ulrich

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It was several months before we talked again. This was back when AOL instant messenger still existed. I was LordAarog0rn. I know it’s not how you spell it, but it was already taken so I had to get tricky with my 1337 computer skills. You were denisonluvsme, named for some singer I’d never heard of, and honestly right now can’t recall.

I had just broken up with your friend, and you, being the good friend that you were, were trying to find out why and see if there was any way I’d take her back. There wasn’t. But it got us talking.

We talked about everything. We talked about nothing. We talked to be connected. We were 21st century pen-pals. It’s like the way people text and message nowadays, but back then there wasn’t as much to keep you occupied. You sat, and you waited.  But you were worth waiting for. I spent the rest of my summer waiting for you.

One of the first games we played was random facts. I loved it because I’m a lover of trivia, and I loved it because you’d teach me new things. You told me that butterflies tasted with their feet, and I told you that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein during the “Year without a summer,” which is why the imagery in the book is so cold. We went back and forth. I was watching a top 10 countdown on Animal Planet. I heard about this beetle that, relative to its size, was the fastest animal on earth. It was the Tiger Beetle.

When scaled up, the relative speed of the Tiger Beetle is around 480 mph. The insect runs so fast after its prey that it actually goes blind. In order to track its prey, it has to stop, find it again, and then run.

I don’t  know why but this tickled you to death. It was to be one of the first stones in the foundation that became our relationship. I swore to myself that day that if we ever got married, there’d be a Tiger Beetle at the wedding. That didn’t happen, and maybe that’s why we didn’t work. But for the summer, we laughed about the beetle that ran so fast it went blind.

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