SUMMER FLASH FICTION SERIES
JUNE 21, 2019
The stars startle and start. They flicker- on, off, on, off, on… -as they float down from the sky and light on the tops of trees. They weave between blades of grass. They circle one another and buzz about the dark backyard, and we bounce in our bare feet, hands and noses pressed so hard against the sliding glass doors so hard that our prints might never be wiped off. We watch the stars dance their magical ballet.
Behind us, in the warm yellow light of the kitchen, our mother opens cabinets and drawers. “Hurry!” we tell her in our hushed little voices, afraid a higher pitch might scare all the stars back up in the sky. She only laughs at us, and we groan because she does not understand our urgency. “Hurry!” we insist, our voices getting higher and our eyes wider as our breath fogs up the glass that we’ve smashed our small faces against.
“Here,” our mother says. She hands us glass jars and their silver circle lids. “Don’t be too long.”
We hardly listen. We are too excited.
We yank the back door open and fling ourselves outside. Our mother’s shadow blocks our view for the briefest of moments when she pokes her head outside, watching us run with outstretched arms, our jars hovering below the timid stars. It takes time- this we know. It takes patience, too. We find a spot and settle in the dewy grass. We sit very still, as if we are made of stones. We hold our open jars up like sacrifices. The moon shines her glow through the translucent glass. We watch her soft silver light sprinkle in hazy waves, and we watch the flickering stars dance in those gentle moonbeams.
My arms are tired, we want to say, and with our eyes we do. We look at each other in the dark and we tell each other how our weary arms ache with everything except our words. We won’t speak, because we don’t want to frighten all those stars. We must be quiet.
Soon enough, our wishes are granted. Our jars fill slowly with starlight.
They touch down softly, bumping clumsily against the sides of the jars. Some of them startle and scurry away, but others drift gently to the bottom. We seal the lids on top and peek between the pinholes our mother pricked into them and watch the stars flicker their lights on and off, on and off.
Satisfied, we make our careful trek back inside. We hold the jars gingerly, for now they hold something special, and we do not want to hurt the stars. We show our mother, who nods and smiles and then tells us that it’s time for bed. We take our stars up the stairs and we set them on the tiny table perched between our beds. When our mother comes and turns the lights off, the stars glow between us.
Tomorrow night we will take our jars back into the yard and unscrew their tight lids. We will set the little stars free, so that they can go back up and fill the sky and make the world less dark. -
But tonight, they are ours. They shine for us alone. Tonight, we sleep with starlight.
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