Recently, I awoke from troubled dreams to discover that I had transformed in my bed into a monstrous vermin. Immediately, alarm bells are going off in my head. Let’s be honest: the media makes turning into a huge insect look pretty bad. If you believe everything you read, you’d expect your boss to fire you, your family to reject you, and the world to forget you after you slowly starve to death.
So there I was, on my back, six legs wriggling in the air, and suddenly, there was a knock on the door. I knew it was probably my sister on her way to condemn me as the loathsome creature I’ve become. Well, I was half right. As I was still trying to get flipped over, my sister opened the door.
“Oh, no!” she said. “Did you have troubled dreams last night? You look a little… different.”
“It’s okay,” I told her. “You can say I’m a monstrous vermin now.”
Or at least, that’s what I meant to tell her. What actually came out of my mouth was a bunch of insect chittering noises.
Uh oh. That’s not gonna help with the whole thinking I’m a disgusting pest thing.
“Oh!” my sister replied. “I understand! Your brain is still accustomed to human vocal cords, and you haven’t figured out how to produce normal speech sounds in your new body yet! I guess for now we’ll communicate with a simple two-clicks for yes, one for no system. Okay?”
I clicked twice, surprised but happy that my sister was approaching the situation from such a reasonable, proactive angle.
At that moment, my father entered the room. “What is happening in here?” he asked, in his stern, imperious way. “With all that clicking, you’d think one of you had turned into a monstrous… Oh.”
“I know you mean well, Dad,” my sister said. “But these days, it’s considered more polite to say ‘enormous insect’ rather than ‘monstrous vermin’.”
My father nodded. “Wow. Always new things to learn. The important thing is that both of you know I love you, and that won’t change no matter what you transform into after a night of troubled dreams.”
Isn’t that something, I thought, immediately overcoming my deep-seated anxieties about my father’s approval. I guess it took my nose being replaced with antennae… To see the love that had been right under it the whole time.
That was when my boss walked in. “Ah, that makes sense! I knew my best employee wouldn’t skip work without a call unless they’d turned into a giant insect, and also happened to be on their back. Well, I’ll put you on our standard enormous cockroach paid leave policy. After all, your real job is to live a fulfilling life.”
“What’s this?” said my best friend, Joe K., climbing in through the window “A disgusting creature! Let’s kill it!”
“Joe!” my sister cried. “How could you say that?”
“Oh, I’m just Joe-K.-ing! You know my sense of humor!” He looked at me lying on the bed. “Which arm do I do a high five with? The front one or the middle one?”
At that moment, I thought of an absolutely perfect diss, but I couldn’t say it. Was this the agony the media had warned me about?
“Click twice if you’re thinking about saying to Joe that it’s weird you’re best friends since one of you is a horrible vermin and one of you just went through a metamorphosis,” my sister said.
I clicked twice, then high-fived Joe using all but my left front leg.
If I want people to take one thing from my story, it’s that just because you’ve mysteriously turned into an enormous insect, it doesn’t mean you have to have a bad time. Crawling around my room is actually pretty awesome, and rotten food tastes great! I don’t know what Gregor Samsa’s problem was, but frankly, I think it was his attitude.
Because at the end of the day, maybe the most important metamorphosis… is a group of people becoming a family.