Fireflies


[Picture: Decorative initial letter ``F'' from 16th Century]
The fireflies came out at dusk, their tiny lights blinking on and off in the deepening gloom.

The children chased them running around the old trees in the yard, shouting with delight as the tiny insects drifted away just out of their reach. The oldest moved slowly, watching a tiny black speck that floated barely visible against the shadows of the evening. Slowly she raised her hands, and cupped them around the bug, trapping it.

She lowered her hands and called to the others. They huddled around her as she slowly opened her hands, revealing the firefly. It marched across the palm of her hand as if it had important things to do, and stopped on the tip of her index finger. The tiny bulb on it's behind flashed green, went dark, then flashed again. Then it spread its wings and flew away, quickly disappearing into the evening.

The youngest child, a little girl with chocolate ice cream still smeared around her mouth began to wail. The oldest shushed her and caught another firefly, showing it to her little sister who clapped her hands and giggled.

The adults were on the patio, drinking beer and tea, talking about adult things. The oldest child knew that things in the adult world weren't good. She knew that her mom was working extra shifts at the store. She knew that every day her dad went to work worried that it would be his last day. She knew that maybe someday soon they would have to leave this house with the big yard and trees where the fireflies danced and the cicadas sang in the summer evenings.

She pushed the thoughts away. They wouldn't have to leave. They would never leave. If she believed it enough it would be true. But she was old enough to know that the world didn't work that way.

She went back to the patio and sat on the concrete next to her mother's chair. She laid her head on her mothers lap, feeling the warmth of the woman's bare legs on her cheek, and watched her siblings playing. Her mother stroked her hair and absentmindedly pulled apart a few tangles, as the girl tried to pretend that she was still young enough to believe.

Comments

  1. What a lovely piece! It really evokes the sensation of those warm summer nights.

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  2. Very nice and some great imagery :)

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  3. I really like this piece. Keep up the great work!

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  4. That story leaves me with a lovely warm feeling for the weekend.

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  5. A magical scene against a backdrop of harsh reality. Sometimes it is good to live just in the moment like this.
    Ann

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  6. beautiful and heartbreaking and poetic.

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  7. There is genuine beauty here—detailed and colorful. Especially, there is magic in this child's wariness of the encroachment of adulthood. It harkens back to moments where all of us remember our innocence fighting to remain intact. Lovely, lovely writing. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. This is such a nice story. I really enjoyed it! ♥

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  9. My husband and I were saying about a month ago how we rarely see fireflies in the summer anymore.

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    Replies
    1. I think it depends on where you are. I used to live next to some woods and we would see fireflies all the time, but since I moved to an area with far fewer trees three years ago, I don't think I've seen any at all.

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  10. I'm fascinated by fireflies. I have only seem them a few times when I was younger and somewhere near Washington DC. Otherwise, they pretty much exist in films and ... the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. I'm envious that you experience them in regular life. It does bring up a Mark Twain quote I used to say often, paraphrasing from memory, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is the ... " OK, fine, I looked it up and it wasn't fireflies at all! It was lightning bugs. I'm not sure what those even are. Maybe the same thing? Do you know? Here's Twain's quote, "The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

    Thanks for posting, I enjoyed it.

    Bradley Charbonneau's Pass the Sour Cream A-Z Challenge.

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    Replies
    1. I think that fireflies and lightning bugs are pretty much the same thing, it may just be a regional variation of usage. I know I've used the terms interchangeably.

      As to the choice of firefly as opposed to lightning bug in this story, a) it starts with F and b) to me a firefly is more magical than a lightning bug.

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  11. Children are always more aware of what is happening in the adult world than we give them credit for. A nice story of how their worlds overlap, and sad that that's the way it is.

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