A Speck among the Stars
Michelle. Age 13. Philadelphia, PA

A cool breeze breathed through my hair on a particularly starry summer night. The air was comfortable; just as soon as it began to be too warm, a wind blew and cooled you off. The three of us were standing together, gazing at the yard, illuminated by the glow of the moon.

“A firefly,” my neighbor whispered. No more needed to be said. My neighbor, brother, and I split up simultaneously. We lurked in the patches of the yard where fireflies were clumped together. We watched the little yellow bulbs float up and up. I cupped my little hands around them in a futile attempt to have them land on my finger.

“I caught one!” my neighbor exclaimed. He rushed over, displaying the tiny creature that was wriggling around on his thumb. We watched it wander until it flew up into the night, leaving us on the ground. Leaves rustling, grass swooshing in the wind, we watched it until it was just a speck among the stars.

We slowly spread out once more, continuing the process. In the corner of my eye, I saw another firefly, flying low and slow. As I ran over and cupped my hand, anxiety spread through me like a blaze. I shot back, in the fear of catching an unknown, living, crawling being. It began to drift away slowly, uncertain. Questioningly, it flashed its bulb once more. I regained my strength and gently covered it with my hand. The firefly flew right on and grasped at my forefinger with its tiny feet. I clenched my fist around it so that it wouldn’t escape as I called the others over. I cautiously opened my hand and… there it was. A cacophony of emotions enveloped me. Fear, happiness, wonder, and shock. In a moment, every emotion desisted plaguing me. All that was left was a giddy, uncontrollable smile that spread on my face. The firefly, exploring my tiny palm, sent off a soft tickle that made me giggle. It crawled to my wrist and put its head down onto my skin. Holding my breath, I watched the bug intently, not wanting it to fly away. But before I knew it, the bug straightened up, paused, and soared away into the night. I looked helplessly after it, willing it to come back. Its bulb flashed as it flew away, a tiny city light glowing through the walls of a skyscraper. Soon enough, the firefly was also just a speck among the stars. Feeling nostalgic, I sighed and turned away. ‘Such a small animal can bring one person so much joy.” I thought. “It is truly the little things in life that make us happy.”

It was a year later. A cool breeze breathed through my hair on a particularly starry summer night. The air was comfortable; just as soon as it began to be too warm, a wind blew and cooled you off. The three of us were standing together, gazing at the yard, illuminated by the glow of the moon.

“A firefly.”

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