According to most Indian religions, we determine how our next life would be. Live right, and we’ll be born into a higher state of existence known as bodhisattva – the escape from the karmic cycle of reincarnation. However, live poorly, and it also turns the wheel of fate against us. Usually, it’s a price we’ll pay in the next life, but what if on one rare occurrence, a more violent, vicious cycle starts within a lifetime?
The wheels of fate started rolling for Angela right after having lunch with her friends. She finished her creamy roast beef, and like most professionals looking for a sugar rush, she ordered a bottle of Coke from the restaurant. While talking with Stephanie about their mountain pile of work left in their cubicles, a fly made the mistake of landing on the neck of Angela’s Coke bottle, making her friend point at it with disgust.
“Shoo!” Angela punctuated the command with a swiping motion of her palm. Unfortunately for the fly, it fell into the bottle where it tried to whirligig its way out. Suddenly, Angela put the red cap on the bottle, and began swirling the remainder of the soda, obviously trying to drown the fly with it.
“What are you doing?” exclaimed Stephanie. “That’s gross!”
Sarcastically, Angela replied, “As if I would dare take that fly out and drink from the bottle again, duh!”
“Ok, whatever.” Stephanie said. “But please remember. Flies have souls, too, you know. Once upon a time, they were humans who encountered bad karma.”
“Karma-sharma-shawarma! That’s old news,” Angela huffed as she threw the bottle in a trash can on her way towards the exit of the restaurant.
She had better things to think about. After all, she was supposed to go on a date later that night with Paulo, her long-time crush who finally asked her out. What to wear? How to put on her hair? What scent to don? Those were the things that concerned her instead of the mumbo-jumbo that Stephanie always spewed out of her mouth.
The day rambled on, drowning the distant memory of the fly deeper into Angela’s unconscious. Then, evening came with a soft ding-dong sound that she welcomed. Paulo arrived at her house with a small bouquet of flowers.
Their date can be described as “the works.” They went on a late movie and sat on a love seat, the ones that are designed specifically for couples to snuggle in while watching the latest romantic comedy. They had a big bucket of popcorn and tall cups of soda.
For a romantic comedy, the movie was extremely long. Angela didn’t like popcorn, so with each fluffy bit, she took a sip of her soda to sweep away the saltiness down her throat. Buzzzttt. She heard the sound faintly, but as she sucked on her straw, the liquid sensation turned into vibrations. She gave it no attention, but as she sucked, the more the soda seemed solid, and with disgust, she realized that her mouth was full of squirming flies. She gave a started scream, which let loose a shadowy swarm of insects flying all over the cinema.
The audience gave a shaking shush to Angela, which snapped her back to a frowning Paulo.
“What happened? Why are you screaming?” he asked.
“Flies! Flies!” she frantically answered.
“What flies?” he questioned with bewilderment.
“Oh my god! I’m so sorry.”
Embarrassed, she bounded out of the theatre, cutting her date short.
In the morning, she woke up to ten messages on her answering machine – each one from Paulo.
“It’s me. What happened to you? Are you alright?”
“Come on, Angela, pick up. You can tell me.”
She froze and smacked the stop button. Then, she replayed the last message.
“Buzz… Ooops! I didn’t hear the beep. It’s still me. Shaving. Call me, ok?”
“Oh my god. I’m losing it,” she said to herself. “Focus, Angela, focus. You’d better get yourself to the office or Sir will get mad.”
Amazingly, Angela finished her work early that day, allowing her to leave the office earlier than usual. She went home and finished listening to the rest of Paulo’s messages. From the tone of his voice, he was still interested in her even if she acted weird just the previous night, so she thought, perhaps, she could surprise him at work.
Paulo worked as an on-site engineer at a development in town. It was a high rise meant to become a condominium, so much to Angela’s horror, she had to tread through dirt wearing her good shoes just to get to her man. However, the desire to set things straight with Paulo overcame her justifying that it’s all worth it. She continued to make her way past sweaty workers from whom she learnt that she needed to climb to the fourth floor of the skeleton of a building to get to Paulo.
“Surprise!” she said after creeping silently behind her love interest.
“Surprise indeed! How are you? Well, obviously, you’re alright since you’re here. How’d you find me? Oh, I guess the men downstairs told you where I was,” he said within just one gasp of air.
“Well, I acted kinda weird last night, so I’m apologizing. As an apology, let’s have dinner. My treat,” she cheekily offered.
With a nod, he chuckled and suppressed shouting, “Yes!” Instead, he managed to say, “I’ll just punch out. Wait here, ok?”
She tapped her heels and acted impatiently before smiling as he grimaced at the sight.
“Man! I’m so head over heels with this woman,” he whispered after turning his back.
While he was in the makeshift office on that floor, Angela saw that the service elevator was on its way up. She didn’t pay much attention to it. After all, it’s a construction site. Men come and go in such a busy place. The elevator whirred its usual whirr, but after a while, it started to change.
Whirr… whirr… whurrr… bwhurrr… burrrrzzz… buzz… buzz…
She felt terror, but it stopped. The elevator door opened, and since it was already getting dark, she couldn’t see into the carriage. The lights might have been out, but the darkness, she realized, was growing in tiny, fuzzy, black dots. Then, the buzzing resumed louder than before as a solid swarm of flies flew towards Angela. Her heart thumped and with clicking heels, she ran away from the swarm right off of the floor, and straight into a concrete mixer.
The sound was so metallic and hollow. It was also drowned by the sound of engines turning a massive cement mixer, but the foreman saw what happened.
“Goddamit! That woman jumped! She jumped! Stop the mixer! Stop!” the foreman yelled to his crew.
Due to the commotion, Paulo went on to investigate and as ironic as he was building a tower, his heart broke to see the cement-coved corpse of Angela limply carried by workers.
After a month of battling with red tape from the city planning department, explaining to their friends, and wallowing in Johnny Walker, Paulo recovered. He went back to work and completed the building. On its grand opening, a party was held at the lobby of the building and he took one long look at the work that he had done, and to inspect every inch of it, including the spot where Angela landed. It was now covered with granite tiles, and with a teary eye, he looked at the black specks mixed with white. As he was staring, a black dot shot right to his eye. It buzzed at him annoyingly. Without giving it much thought, solidly, he hit it with the back of his hand, and it fell in his cocktail glass.
Could it be that the fly was Angela’s reincarnation? Could it be, too soon? At this point, those are all irrelevant questions since we won’t or couldn’t know the answer. However, it teaches us a lesson: since we can never be sure, we’ll just need to try and live our lives properly lest we get caught in the same vicious cycle.