The Fifth World

Glitterwing

By Giulianna Maria Lamanna

Me and Glitterwing became best friends because we both hate spiders. Even though Glitterwing’s a damselfly and I’m a human, we get along ‘cause of the spider thing.

We met in the forest. I was looking for figs and there were spiderwebs everywhere! They were gross and sticky. And then I saw a big damselfly, all shiny blue and green, fly into one of the real big webs. He was trying to catch the spider to eat her, but instead the spider caught him! And they started fighting in the web, the spider trying to wrap Glitterwing up for a snack to eat later.

Well, I wouldn’t let that big dumb spider eat such a pretty animal, so I got a big stick up off the forest floor and I whacked her with it until she got all dazed and couldn’t move anymore. Then Glitterwing tried to get out of the web, but it was too sticky. I cooed to him to calm him down while I picked the spider silk off his wings, real gentle because his wings are really delicate.

It worked! He yanked himself out and then kinda hovered in the air, thinking about whether or not he should go after the spider again. By that point, the spider was starting to wake up. So I whacked her with my stick some more times until she curled up into a ball, and then I reached out with both hands (she was a big one — yuck!) and grabbed her out of her web and put her on a rock. Glitterwing flew down, snatched her up in his feet, and ate her! Served her right, stupid spider.

Anyway, from then on, me and Glitterwing were always together. I’d meet him by his favorite pond and he’d fly right over to me. He liked to ride around on my shoulder with his wings tucked back. I would help him catch spiders and sometimes give him other treats. He also kept the mosquitos away from me! Some kids have pet monkeys; I had a pet damselfly. He was about the same size, but way shinier and not nearly as stinky.

So we were best friends for a couple of months, and I figured we’d be best friends forever. But after a while, I noticed his wings getting kinda ragged-looking. And he flew slower, and he didn’t look as shiny as he used to. My mama warned me that bugs don’t live as long as we do. But it still hurt when I went to our pond one morning and found Glitterwing floating on the surface of the water.

I figured he probably died where he wanted to, in the pond he loved, but I still gave him a human burial because that’s what friends do. My grandpa told me there used to be lots more kinds of damselflies and dragonflies in the world, but they were tiny. The ancestors killed almost all of them, but the ones that survived got big. Maybe so they’d be big enough for us to see that they were people and they mattered, too. Even if they didn’t live so long.

I know I’ll always remember Glitterwing, even though I didn’t have much time with him. He’s not around anymore, but he’ll always be my friend.