Lupo The Ladybug
a short story
Lupo is a ladybug that thinks he should have been a lion.
But this story isn’t about ladybugs. Or lions, for that matter. No, this story is about something far more important, something that lives in the soul of every living being and connects us all, from ladybugs to lions to wolves. This story is about an invisible thread that stretches from creation to the present day. This story, like every story worth telling that has ever come before it, is about love.
But let’s begin with Lupo. Lupo is a ladybug, and like most ladybugs, he lives under a rock. There are plenty of things that make Lupo’s life less than ideal; living under a rock is just the first on an extensive list. A list that seemed, at least recently, to be growing fast.
For one, Lupo was not a lady. Second, ladybugs were technically beetles, a technicality that, at first glance, doesn’t seem like a relevant detail, something akin to correcting the pronunciation of one’s name. Not a big deal, until the fourteenth time doing so. Third, ladybugs only lived for an average of one year, which, to Lupo, at least, seemed like a disastrously raw end of the deal.
Somewhere, out on the great plains of Africa, lions and zebras were running around without a care in the world, given decades to figure this life thing out. In the oceans, sharks and turtles were busy exploring their infinite playgrounds, making new friends and discovering new worlds. Penguins didn’t have an easy life, but at least they had time to fall in love and start a family. And don’t get Lupo started on humans, those funny two-legged creatures who lived inside squares and rectangles, spending most of their lives doing things other than eating and playing in the sun. What a waste of time!
What it must be like to have all those years of life to experiment with, Lupo thought. How was one supposed to fit a lifetime of living into one measly year? It just didn’t seem like enough time. Of course, it could have been worse. Lupo could have been a pebble, or a blade of grass, or worst of all, a fruit fly sentenced to one day; long enough to be given a sliver of existence, but too short to do anything about it. So, Lupo was grateful for being a ladybug. Still, he couldn’t help but think that the Great Inventor had made a mistake.
Stop trying to figure it out, Lupo. Just live. Rolex, his dependable friend and sidekick, would always remind him, particularly when Lupo went off the deep end on the doom and gloom that was their existence. Rolex was a grasshopper and knew exactly what Lupo was going through. He, too, expected to live for about one year.
But still, Lupo was convinced there had been a major mistake in the operating system at the time of his creation. Perhaps the Great Inventor was busy and her finger slipped, Lupo thought, or she was tired and decided to take a nap, just five minutes to rest my eyes, and in that time, Lupo, the King of the Jungle, a majestic beast, the hero in almost every story told since the beginning of time, woke up instead as a one centimeter by one centimeter ladybug. Lupo the Lion accidentally turned out to be Lupo the Ladybug, and there was nothing he could do about it.
There was, of course, one thing that made Lupo different from all the other ladybugs. Every day Lupo would wander off, sit on a leaf, and write a letter to his future lover. The letters were full of his desires and dreams and the future he envisioned with his new partner. In these letters he recounted the monotony of his days, the breakfast he ate with Rolex, and the changing of the seasons. Lupo never loses hope that true love awaits him. Every day he writes.
Ladybugs come and go, but each time there is something wrong. This one is not ready, that one is too ready, and the cycle goes on. In the end, Lupo never meets his lover. Eventually, Lupo realizes he was looking for love in all the wrong places. Lupo finds that true love is in the sky, in the ocean, and in the earth. True love is deeper than he had ever imagined. It is inside him, in his mind and in his heart, in every living thing and every star in the sky.
Lupo outgrows the search for love and becomes love, and now, in old age, he continues to write one love letter a day, but now to the universe and all souls, living and passed. He writes to the Great Inventor and Great Spirit. Lupo writes to the letters themselves, for the ink to be born, for the paper to be given purpose.
And when his body withers and his soul passes from the physical plane, love spreads through the clearing like fire across the night sky.