Lightning Bug

A few days back, the day before the Eid to be precise, I was lying in my bed— quite tough but never failed to ease my tiredness whenever my back touched the bedsheet; sometimes floral, sometimes illustrated with bright colours, and sometimes, well, dirty.

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It was when we’ve just finished the voice meeting, won a few free hives and definitely, in a jolly mood— ready to call it a night and wake up amidst festivity. But, the goddess of sleep was nowhere near to cast a spell and put me to sleep almost instantly. And I could sense her laughing at me, knowing that I would have difficulty waking up in the morning, and if the devil wins, I will miss the prayer, which gave a chill down the spine— what!!! I shouldn’t miss it, for God’s sake— I have missed so many in my life and just don’t want to add another number right beside it.

So, I was praying hard, please, put me to sleep— but, nah, not a chance. My soul, so helpless, submitted it to the mercy of luck. And the waiting game began.

Perhaps it was the plan of the goddess to keep me awake to witness a miracle of nature, a benevolent creature— a firefly entered the room, slowly flew from the entrance to the ceiling and landed on the mosquito net, right over my head.

I don't know, but all of a sudden, all my tiredness is gone and replaced with an unknown source of energy— strong as a sharp inhaling of the vapour on the foil, hitting the nerve and making it more conscious than ever.

So many years have passed since I have witnessed the dance of a firefly in the wild, lighting up the jungle with an army of luminous mysteries— thousands strong but so futile even your clapping hands can disorganise their display, forcing them to retreat to their hideout, letting the darkness reign once again.

I remember seeing them in my childhood, coming out as darkness falls with the sun resting in the west. My grandmother used to tell stories about these fireflies and a certain type of bird who hates darkness. Myth is, these birds use fireflies to light up their nest— shoving them in the mud so they can't fly but keep the light on the whole night; such a gruesome act of selfishness, making others torment for self-interest.

Ah, sweet memories— young forever.

Anyway, that jungle is gone now, and with it, those lightning bugs and the birds. The firefly I am looking at right now can be a distant relative of some other fireflies from my grandmother's time, announcing its survival despite odds.

But survival favours the fittest, and this tiny firefly has enough enjoyed the earth's company. Otherwise, it wouldn't make the flight and get hit by the ceiling fan right in front of my eyes.

The end of a legacy. The end of the suffering of losing so many companions to the aggression of industrialisation. Its dark body remains with the scattered thread of cold light at its bottom— insignificant yet so overwhelming. Life is too short, and I became the witness once again.

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