I don’t know where it came from, this idea for a story about a little girl who likes cicadas.
Except that I was a little girl who liked cicadas. I am a grown-up who loves them; I’ve written about this many times.
Anyway . . .
In my idea (that fell into my head when I was actually thinking of other things), a little girl is having a hard time adjusting to her parents’ separation. It’s connected to a change in seasons when she can’t hear cicadas anymore. Perhaps she will find some shed cicada shells and ponder the emptiness where a living thing used to be. Or how one outgrows things. Maybe she’ll even think that her parents have outgrown their love for her. I am not sure yet of all the meanings and connections; I will have to write and let the story grow and breathe on its own.
I do know, however, that the little girl becomes ill. Is it terminal? Not sure yet. She goes to the hospital. It’s winter. As she’s falling asleep, the heater in her room sounds like cicadas rattling high in the summer trees. It’s a happy sound, this buzzing. She will wonder if dying is not so bad, really, if she can just keep hearing cicadas . . . and then she hears voices. Her mother and father are there with her in the room, together if only for a little while, united in their concern for their sick daughter.
Whose name is Ada.
Sick Ada . . . cicada . . .
That’s as far as I’ve gotten, just grasping at these gossamer images, the barest wings of an idea.
But I think it might like to become a real story.
That belongs to children, for they live at the mercy of adults and the world.
And, of course, to cicadas, which are always buzzing somewhere, and which represent many things, mostly good.
Seems I almost owe it to little sick Ada, waiting there in the wings.