I am holding fire in my hands.
This warm night smells like candle smoke and woodsmoke and pipesmoke. It smells like leftover rain and pine needles. It smells like stars and the wishes made upon them. It smells like twilight and shadows, like wind that blows from places where lamps can be switched on and off, and places where the sky is dark with smog.
There is a light in Mama’s tired eyes that is not just a reflection of the fire. Her dimples show as she watches the little ones squeal and gasp in awe as the fire brushes their skin. The older ones smile and cup their hands around the flickers of light. Mama says that sometimes people will put this fire into jam jars and use it as light when the sun goes to sleep. I can’t imagine capturing something so beautiful and keeping it only for yourself.
The night is melting gold light and gray trees, dark blue sky and silver moon.
But there is fire in my hands.
It pulses as I peer at it through the gaps in my fingers, the light bumping up against my skin.
The breeze rustles through my skirts, and I cup my hands tighter around the fire. The wind sings to me, a song I have caught it singing before, on many summer evenings like this one. Dark brown hair tangles in the song, but my hands are too busy holding fire to brush it out of my face.
All of us have blinking, shivering fire in our hands, except the baby, who is to little to understand how to catch it. Her hands are too small, anyway. She bats her hands at the golden lights that dance through the air as she coos on Mama’s hip.
The wind calls again. It wants it’s fire back, and Mama wants us to get to bed.
I open my hands.
The fire flies away.