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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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by Sarah Baginsky

It was high school biology and they were watching cells dance under a microscope. The sample was from the pond in Clarissa Abernathy’s backyard and it was teeming with paramecia, amoebae, and other microscopic creatures. To Celia Whittaker, it looked like the cells were at a high school dance.


She watched as a group of protists boogied in the center of her slide, just like the mosh-pit of humping and grinding in the center of her junior prom. Other cells drifted about the fringes of the pit, too self-conscious to charge into the mass of dancers and yet too full of adrenaline to just sit on the sidelines. She watched them all, but one poor cell caught her eye.


He was a paramecium and she could tell he was shy by the awkward jerks he took as he swam along the edges of the dance. He skirted around the other dancers, pausing occasionally to watch a graceful euglena as she twirled around or an enthusiastically twerking amoeba but he never stayed in one spot for too long. Celia followed him with her microscope, pushing the slide to the side so he was always in her sight. He kept going until he left the mosh-pit far behind and finally he stopped. And stared.


Celia looked around for what had captured his attention and she saw a lovely peranema swaying to the music alone. The paramecium floated there for a minute and Celia knew that what she was witnessing was love at first sight in miniature. The enormity of the moment covered her bare arms in goose bumps.


She silently urged him on and as if he had heard her thoughts, the paramecium slowly swam over to the peranema. She stopped dancing as he introduced himself. Then, in tandem, they began to swirl around each other; slow dancing long after Celia Whittaker had carefully placed the slide back in the cup of pond water and gone to her next class.