I was a wasp before. I can remember hatching inside a fig. I was a bulbous, gelatinous thing. There were others, and we grew together and hardened and became long and spindly. After a while the others began to leave the fig, and I followed.
We smelled the outside and moved towards it, tunnelling through pink tendrils and rough green skin. Everything was green outside. All around were green leaves and fruits and the sun shone through the leaves and warmed our bodies, which were a deep metallic pine colour. We stretched our limbs and our wings.
We crawled together through the branches of the fig tree. Our bodies were covered in soft pollen that smelled so good. In the tree there were other wasps, hatching from other figs. The air was full of the sound of our humming.
As we left the leafy space of the fig tree the sun hit us fully for the first time. I was dazed in the brightness and saw nothing but pink and orange sparks at first. Slowly the sparks faded into blueness and then the blueness faded and I could see everything. It was enormous.
We began to separate from each other. Goodbye, we buzzed, goodbye. And then one by one there were less of us until it was only me in space flying in the sunlight.
I don’t know why it happened. I was flying and I felt something change in me. It was as if I had been poisoned, but I didn’t die. Instead I felt my heart growing. It grew from the size of a fig seed to a rosehip to an apple, and my body grew around it. My shiny green exoskeleton cracked and fell away. I was fleshy and disgusting. I grew too big for my wings and I fell onto the ground. Dirt and twigs pressed into my skin and hurt me. I clutched at my wings, so beautiful but scrawny now on my huge back, and they crumbled away at my touch. I looked at this pair of hands that were somehow mine, covered in the dust of my wings, and felt a tightness in my apple-heart. I tried to call to my siblings for help, but instead of buzzing I could only make a loud wet sound.
Though I had grown hundreds of times my size, the space around me still seemed expansive. I was surrounded by low bushes covered in tiny flowers. My sense of smell had dulled to almost nothing, and I felt afraid. I tried my best to lug this giant body underneath a bush to hide, and I was lying curled around its thin trunk when the Sisters found me. They brought me here and taught me their language and how to read it. They gave me books about God and other holy people. In some of the stories I read, there were transformations like mine.
The Sisters gave me black clothing like theirs to wear. It covered most of my body and helped me to stop thinking about my new, strange shape. They showed me how to make bread with them. Gradually I grew accustomed to my dull sense of smell, and I liked to be in the kitchen surrounded by the cool scent of flour and yeast as we kneaded dough. I learned to sing and to pray. The sounds were similar to the humming of my wasp siblings and brought me comfort. During silent prayer in the chapel, I lowered my head like the others around me and asked God to make me a wasp again.
Though I knew I was a different thing than the Sisters, I liked living with them. Often they would put their hands on the sides of my face and call me My Child. It was a strange thing, to know I had this face and hated it, and to still feel love in their touch. At night I dreamed of their hands almost as often as I dreamed about the fig tree.
Last week, a miracle happened. I was in the garden, poking little holes in the dirt with my fingers and planting seeds in them, and I heard the buzzing of a wasp by my ear. I turned and saw that it was a fig wasp like me. I held my hand out to it and, at that moment, I remembered how to make the buzzing sound I used to make. Hello, I said, hello. The wasp, startled at hearing what looked like a human speak its language, stung me on the hand and flew away from me. Something was happening in my chest. A feeling like kneading bread, something stretching out. My apple-heart rolling around a little in the space. My hand throbbed and I looked at my arm, my whole arm up and down, without fear for once.
The bell in the chapel started ringing then. That was how I knew it was a miracle. God was calling to me. I stood up quickly, getting tangled in my skirt and having to hop on one leg to regain balance. Then, leaving my seed packets in the dirt, I ran to the chapel to give thanks.
Mira Schlosberg is a writer, comics artist, and editor whose work has appeared in The Lifted Brow, Rabbit Poetry Journal, and Seizure, among others. Mira is the editor of Voiceworks, edits comics at Scum, and subedits at Gusher. You can find them on Twitter @miraschlosberg.