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Catching Fireflies

“Where are we going?” Camren asked me as we marched up the stairs, the only real sounds, other than his inquiry were the echoes of our feet bouncing off of the marble steps below us and the sounds of the fabric of our jeans rubbing together in time with our step. “Usually, when someone says we’re going to catch fireflies, we head straight to a field or something.”

I rolled my eyes and ran a hand through my freshly dyed russet hair, still moving, the tips of my converse poking out from beneath my jeans. “You’ll see,” I told him. “Just hush up and follow me.” I could practically see him rolling his eyes in my head, not needing to turn around to know that he’d already started messing with his headphones, tempted to slide them over his ears and crank of the volume on his iPod. “And don’t you dare think about drowning me out.” The groan that came from the back of his throat told me that I was right and I grinned victoriously, still stomping up the steps, taking two at a time and turning, heading up another set of stairs. “We’re almost there anyway, so just chill out.”

“Whatever you say,” He sighed, and I could see him rolling his eyes again.

After walking up a few more flights of stairs, I curled my hands around the doorknob and swung it open, stepping onto the roof of the apartment building that I had grown up in since I was four. “You still got the mason jar?” I asked finally turning to focus my gaze on him.

Without a moment of hesitation, he reached into the back pocket of his roomy jeans, which hung baggy and flared all the way down. The back pocket went all the way down to his knee; you could pretty much stash anything there if you needed to. In this case; two mason jars. He handed one to me, and immediately I unscrewed the top watching as he pulled out his own and tugged the top off, his head bent down slightly as he focused on the brass of the lid, the spikes in his hair sticking up straight, and, thanks to his industrial strength hair gel, barely moving in the wind.

“There aren’t any fireflies up here, Sadie.” Camren grunted dryly, his eyebrows raised in amusement. I sat down on the roof, crossing my legs underneath me and sucked in a deep breath through my nose. Another groan. “This is another one of your crazy ‘use your imagination’ things, isn’t it?”

“Shhh!” I hissed. “Just listen…”

With another sigh, he sat down across from me, crossing his legs underneath him and resting his elbows on his knees. “I swear, if this is some kind of prank-“

“Shhhhhh!” I repeated, getting a little irritated. Pulling in another deep breath, I ran my finger around the rim of the jar, looking around the roof. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked. “Up here, you can never hear the crickets… but you know they’re down there, you know? And if you focus hard enough, you can almost hear them in your mind. Just close your eyes and work with me on this, okay?”

His hand stirred the air and he closed his eyes, copying my breathing. Slowly, he started to relax, his body not as tense anymore as he listened to the world around us. Neither of us had lived in a city. The apartment building I lived in with my parents was massive, but way out in the country and too large for the teeny tiny town that we lived in. Camren and I had always joked about how half of our town must have lived in that building.

And now, this high up, knowing that the tops of trees shared the same height as we did, the sun going down what felt like only a few hundred yards away, we felt like gods.

Finally, after a long time, he opened his eyes, a small smile creasing his lips. Rising to his feet, he walked over to the edge of the roof on the back end of the apartment and peered over at the yard that stretched out before us, looking down. “This is… really cool, Sadie.”

Smiling, I stood also and walked beside him, looking down at the world below us. My arm made my way around his waist, and his around my shoulders, pulling me into his side gently. “I know. C’mon, you ready to go catch them for real?”

He chuckled softly and brushed his lips against mine, “Yeah… let’s go.” He slid his jar into his back pocket and I handed mine over to him.

I turned and started back to the door which I’d left open and jogged down the stairs, stopping by a window, quietly taking out the camera that was always in my pocket and waited.

When he hit the last step on that flight, like always, he turned and took a quick glance out the window. That’s when I took action. Raising the camera, I snapped a shot of him and his gaze shot back to me.

I smiled again, but this time it was bittersweet. “Something to remember you by.”

His arms wrapped around me and he kissed the top of my head, resting his chin there in the wake of his lips. “Just because you’re moving away doesn’t mean we won’t keep in touch.”

“Yeah… I just wanted a record of one of our 'adventures'” I made air quotes, "On film." I mumbled, resting my forehead against his chest.

After several minutes, he released me from his embrace and ruffled my hair, “Come on… let’s get outside.”
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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