‘It’s the Fireflies’
This is the fifth night of the fires in the sky. Five nights of the stars popping up and getting closer and closer as the skies grew darker. Maybe it's been longer, maybe the fires have been there longer, and I'm just noticing. They could have been there my entire life, just watching. Admiring? Despising? Just being.
The first night I noticed them, my girlfriend had just killed herself. Not that I knew it at the time. I was walking home from her house, and I looked up. There they were. These little orange and blue balls of fire coming at me from lifetimes away. I stood and stared, there was something so comfortable and familiar about them. I took in the warmness, and felt whole. Then everything felt wrong. Everything felt like shame and guilt. I turned to go back to see if she was okay.
But I was already there in her apartment, and she was dead on her couch. She had slit her wrists and emptied herself out on the new rug I helped her pick out. I picked the knife up from her palm; maybe I was already holding it? She couldn't have done this in the bathroom, I wondered, I can't return the rug now.
No, my girlfriend is dead. I was just having sex with her. We argued.
"You called me Julia!"
"What? No, no I didn't."
"Yes you did! I heard it! Can't you even hide the fact that you're cheating on me when you're coming?"
I ... I got up, put my clothes on. I left.
I know I left. She was crying.
Then, there were fireflies. There shouldn't have been fireflies in December. No, they're too far away. Wait... Juli- Madison. I'm... she's dead. What's going on? I can't...
I'm in my apartment the next morning. Day breaks like a happy meal toy, and I get the vague feeling something happened the night before. I don't remember what, though. Something about Julia. Did Madison find out about us?
I take a shower and after eating and dressing, I feel compelled to paint. I start to paint something I call "Funeral Pyre". I don't know why, but I paint the stars purple. I decided to call Julia.
"Julia, I need to feel you underneath me. Can we meet?"
"I-I-Why are you doing this?"
"ohgod- Please... please don."
"Julia? What's going on?"
The phone plummets in slow motion towards the floor. It's night suddenly. The Fireflies are back. They're staring into my window. As much as stars can stare. Did I spend all day painting? Where did all the red come from? Why did I put all this red in the sky?
I'm in Julia's house. I can see sunlight pouring in through the window. She's under me, smiling. Breathing. Heavy. I touch her face to see if she's real. I decide that I can't tell. A blow-up doll may not be a person, but it's real too, right? I pick up the pace. She likes it. I go harder.
She starts crying. Am I hurting her? I don't remember. I wanted her to stop crying. How could I make her stop?
Then i'm in my apartment again. I didn't know what was going on. I still don't. As far as I can tell, I spent the next two nights lying in a ball in front of my window, staring back at the fireflies as they inched towards me from heaven. Don't remember turning the lights in my apartment out, but I don't remember seeing any lights on those days. I remember having left them on so that I wouldn't be in the dark.
But it's day five now, and that's all there is. Dark. None of the lights of the city are burning. They've all been put out.
Even the stars have been extinguished.
I languish for eternity. I lay for seconds. It's all happening right now. It's already done. What's going to happen? Then I see something. I saw it. Will see it. I don't know.
It's the Fireflies.
Then I notice the numb warmness on my arms. I look down, and I just see my wrists. But I feel ... something on them. Something warm and wet. I'm holding something. It's a knife, covered in scarlet. Was I painting with a knife?
My skin bursts into sensations I never knew even existed. The fireflies were here. They were so beautiful. So so beautiful.
I think I did something bad.
But it's all okay now.
The fireflies are here for me.