Fierce Fiction: Fireflies Jun05

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Fierce Fiction: Fireflies


a small MIranda story by Aimee Swartz
Photo by Coso Blues
Photo by Coso Blues

The day my dad died was the longest day of the year. Usually, we counted down to this day all summer because the night seemed to last forever. On the day my dad died, Carla and I stayed inside. “Out of respect,” my mother said a bit too harshly, knowing neither of us would put up a fuss on this day. From the window next to my bed, I watched the night sky brighten and dim with more lightening bugs than I could count. I turned off the light so no one could see me watching, even though I know I was completely alone.

After my dad died, the days got really long. Many people came to our house with food that no one ate. I watched them come and go, sometimes the same people day after day, some people I had never seen before or since. My whole life I had never seen my mom or dad have a single friend except for the families in our cul-de-sac, and even so I wouldn’t exactly call them friends, just neighbors.

My blinds were covered in dust except for where my finger pressed against the one at eye level, peeking to see who would arrive next. I noticed I had bent the same bind in the same place so many times that I made a small crack. I remembered how my dad always said this family could not have anything nice because Carla and I did not understand the meaning of money. “Do you know how much these things cost? Do you know how hard I have to work?” He would ask to no one in particular, each time with a defeat in his voice that I felt from the inside out. He was right, this house would never be nice. I vowed to dust the blinds and wash the windows for good measure the next day, but I never did.

I never got tired of watching. Each time a new car pulled up I let myself hope that it could be my dad coming home after a long fishing trip where he caught one big enough to feed us all. His photo would be in the paper, and he would be feel proud enough to smile, despite his crooked teeth, as he held up the fish with the hook still in its mouth. In that moment when I could pretend he was coming back, I felt like me again.