They laughed at her when she said she wanted to be a moth.
‘You mean a butterfly,’ Miss Morton said.
‘No, a moth. If I was an insect, I’d want to be a moth.’
Miss Morton shook her head, and the other children sniggered and shuffled in their seats. Julia felt her cheeks turn hot red. She held her tongue.
‘What, you want to live at nighttime?’ Sammy Roberts said with a sneer.
She could have told him that there were moths who flew during the day and butterflies who loved the moon, but she didn’t.
‘What, you want to be, like, brown?’ Chrissie Novak said.
Julia could have told her that there were moths as colourful as rainbows, but she didn’t. She could have told the whole class that the only difference between a moth and a butterfly was the shape of its antennae – a clubbed end for a butterfly, a feathered end for a moth – but she kept her mouth shut.
That night, she opened her window and turned on the light. She watched the moths hurling themselves at the bulb, over and over again. If she were an insect, she would be a big, furry, moon-bothering moth. Let them laugh; she would be indestructible.
Inspired by Julia’s answer to the question: if you were an insect, what would you be and why?, May 20th, 11.21am