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NaPoWriMo #2

Power Outage

Shorter then a blink
The power went out
I could hear your voice calling my name from rooms away,
Slight panicky tones seeping in.
I move as quickly as I can in the dark house,
Stumbling as I bump into the coffee table and tripping over our carelessly discarded flip-flops and the door mat.
I answer your anxious call with my own, trying to reassure you that I am here, that everything is fine.
Desperate to calm you, you are not alone, I am here. I am here.
I can barely see you in the living room, where you have jumped up from the couch in front of the t.v., startled.
As I pull you close in a tight hug, your bare arm is covered in goosebumps.
Your skin, of which I've kissed every inch, feels foreign in this darkness. You tremble slightly, and I hug you closer before taking your hand and leading you slowly and gently back the way I came, and into the kitchen. I fumble with the matches before successfully lighting two half melted tea light candles contained in crystal cut glass shot glasses, nicked from the mantle at our favorite bar. It was on a dare, and I hadn't been dating you long, and didn't know about your healthy sense of adventure.
The shot glass candle's soft light was just enough to lit up the counter by the window over the kitchen sink, and now I can see your face, still tense but starting to relax, the dishes drip drying next to the sink. The candle sends shadows dancing across the counter and the corners of your eyes.
I offer you one of the candles
Raising it high over my head in a toast to you,
To you in all your delight,
To you in all your beauty,
To the soft light dancing in your eyes.
I couldn't tell if the glow in the room existed solely in those velvet chocolate eyes or was the flickering flame.
But the light I saw there was brighter then man made flame.
You took my hand and held the glass high like a torch, leading me to the back door,
All fear gone.
No hesitant shuffling steps
Confident insistent purpose filled movement
The screen door shuts with a bang, pleased with our decision.
The yard is dark too, a different dark then the one thrust upon the house.
Crickets and cicadas and frogs are the only soundtrack to the night
Fireflies emit brief bursts of the same soft light as our candles
"Look", I say as they drift closer, "They think the flame is one of them".
It must be dizzying and disorienting
The firefly's love life
A beacon, a calling of "I'm here, I'm here! Where are you? I'm trying to find you...I'm here I'm here!"
A brief flashing answer across the field, across the lake "I'm here! Over here! Come find me!"
Frantic wing beats
Everyone still searching, still calling getting in your way, blinding you with their own desparation.
Flashes of light and dark, light and dark, light and dark
Until sky and earth and stars and trees blend in a blur of shapes and shadows
All sense of direction is gone
And you can't tell who you are anymore
And all you can do fly in circles
Searching hoping praying
That your light is bright enough
Your wings are strong enough
To find that echo of your heart once more
That this wasn't the only chance you had
And you blew it

All this run through my head as we climb onto the loveseat on our back porch
You pull the worn comforter over our laps, wrap the blanket we normally save for beach days and picnics around us. It's slightly damp from dew and cool earth, and we both shiver.
We place the candle carefully on ground, nestled under the low glass coffee table, but snatch it up worriedly when a gust of wind drives the flame dangerously low. She holds it close and cups a shielding hand along the rim as I search for somewhere more sheltered to protect it better. "There." I say, pointing to our overgrown hibiscus bush and it's wide terra cotta pot's base. I go to take the glass from her, and she hesitates. "It'll be fine." I tell her, adding "I promise" when she doesn't look convinced. Reluctantly she nods, bites her lips as she lets go. She cranes her neck to better watch the flame for a few minutes as I settle back underneath the comforter, loveseat creaking and groaning in protest. And I wonder if this is what it's like to have a child, to be so afraid to let them go.
She rests her head on my shoulder while my hand finds hers under the blanket
We don't say anything. There's nothing that needs to be said.
I listen to her easy breathing that grows deeper and slower still
As she gently drifts into sleep.
And I think about this girl at my side,
Who is afraid of her own dark house, of the unexpected,
Who worries about a candle's flame.
This girl will take tea of coffee any day of the week,
Climbs trees in her Sunday best, wears grass stains on her sundresses and knees with a clumsy pride and lopsided smile,
And laughs and laughs and laughs at every occasion, even solemn ones
And this boy, this boy loves her, would follow her anywhere. He needs someone to remind him of the sunlight, of the kindness that still exists in the world. The house feels so strange when she's gone. Full of emptiness and too many rooms, and all the furniture and books and art in the world could never make it feel any different. Maybe they could make their future here. He hoped there was a future with her. They could chase down that big American dream. This could be ours if we want it, right? If we both want it...

The streetlights come back on with a snap.
A neighboorhood's worth of televisions turn on, volume drowning out frogs and crickets and cicadas.
The candle's flame looks puny, insignificant now
She stirs in her sleep, frowing and burrowing deeper under the blanket, but does not wake.
I move her head onto the pillow, tuck the comforter tighter against the chilly night air. I go back into the house, turn off the television, unplug the phone that has not stopped ringing from the wall, and turn off all the lights one by one. The screen door sighs as I close it carefully behind me. I crawl back under the blanket that smells of salt and suntan lotion and her. Let's forget everything but soft light and fireflies, for at least one night. Sometimes, the darkness is home, and the house is just boxes and a roof and noise and distraction.

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