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A Jar of Fireflies: A Summer Short Story

a-jar-of-fireflies

Hey guys! I have something a little different for you all today…I’m releasing another short story! This one I wrote in one sitting after being inspired by a picture, and hardly did any editing…some things just happen like that. I love this story. It’s one of the favorites I’ve ever written! Since it’s so short, I’m not going to publish it on Amazon but just post it in my blog post. I hope you all enjoy!

a-jar-of-fireflies

When I was a little girl, I chased fireflies.

I remember running through the wet grass after it rained. It was dark but the new moon shined lovingly upon me, and the stars winked. I chased after the blinking lights floating in the air, every now and then catching one. I loved fireflies. They were like summertime snowflakes, or my own personal stars.

One evening a few years later I sat on my back steps, watching them. Not chasing anymore, just watching. The fireflies blinked through the air as I sat there, breathing in the smell of dusk.

There was a light on next door, and soon the screen door creaked softly. A silhouette padded down the steps and crossed the lawn.

“Hi, Mike,” I said softly as he sat down next to me on the steps.

“Hey,” he said.

We watched the fireflies.

“Ever catch ‘em?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said, “but not enough.”

“How many do you want?”

“A whole jar-full,” I said.

“Why?”

I sighed. He wouldn’t understand.

“Cause they’re like stars.”

Mike was silent. Then he got up and left the porch. I kept my eyes on the fireflies, but I heard his door creak once, and then again. He walked out into the lawn with something in his hand. Carefully he stood, and I watched. He was catching fireflies. For me.

Ten minutes passed, then twenty. He was still catching them. Finally he stopped, and I heard the lid screw on the jar. He walked over to me.

Mike handed me the jar, and I carefully took it.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you’re a star,” he said.

. . . . .

That was the last evening of the summer. I’ll never forget it. Mike and I never sat out on the porch steps again. We didn’t even talk to each other except in passing. It was like that night never happened, or that it was from a different world. I released the fireflies the next morning, but I kept the jar. It wasn’t a special jar. In fact, it was just an old pickle jar. But it reminded me of that night.

I moved away two years later. And as I entered high school and then college, I never forgot that night of my childhood. It was magical. I wondered what Mike had meant when he said I was a star.

I graduated from college and moved again, to a little town in Maine, far from my childhood home. I liked it, though. It was a small town, and I liked that.

Three weeks after I moved into a tiny little cottage, I found a jar of fireflies on my back porch.

Fireflies.

Mike?

I wondered if he was here. He couldn’t be here, not after all these years. But I took the jar inside and put it on my bedside table. I dreamed of that summer evening, twelve years ago.

In the morning I released the fireflies and told myself that a child had caught them and put them on the porch. It couldn’t be Mike after all these years.

That evening I sat out on my back porch, my head leaning up against the railing. I watched the fireflies and the stars and closed my eyes. I heard a noise from the side, and in the dark someone came up the stairs and sat next to me.

Ordinarily I would have been scared.

But I wasn’t.

Because the person had a jar of fireflies. I stared in the dark, barely being able to make out the features of the person next to me.

“Hey,” he said.

I didn’t recognize the voice. But I knew who he was.

“Ever catch ‘em?” he asked.

Mike’s voice was rich and deep, different from the eleven-year-old I talked to twelve years ago. But it was still him. He handed me the jar.

“What are fireflies?” he asked.

“Stars,” I said softly. “Dreams.”

He took my hand.

“Come on, Star,” he said to me. “Let’s release these dreams and find new ones.”

I smiled at him in the dark. Together we walked across the lawn and stopped. I carefully screwed off the lid and we watched as the fireflies floated out to join the stars.

His hand felt warm against mine, and he pulled me into a tight hug.

Somehow we both knew we wouldn’t need the fireflies. We wouldn’t need the dreams.

Because what we had, we couldn’t keep in a jar.

. . . . .

And twenty years later, we’ve released twenty jars of fireflies, always on the last night of summer. We’re no longer alone. Two stars of ours release them with us, and we dance in the moonlight afterward, laughter running over.

It’s amazing what a jar of fireflies can do.

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