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The Night Sky MAG
I tuck my legs underneath me, pulling the fleece blanket tighter around my arms. It’s not really cold, but the blanket offers comfort, like a loved one hugging me close.
They talk about religion. He’s an atheist and is convinced that God is a delusion that humans created to blame their problems on. She agrees, but with a little more open-mindedness – agnosticism.
I listen to them, staring into the campfire on my porch. I love watching the flames. They’re so unique; tongues of orange illuminate the night sky.
Part of me wants them to stop talking. There’s nothing more that I want in the world than to believe in God, but another part of me wonders if they’re right. What if I believe in God for the wrong reason: fear of death? Does that make me a good follower? Am I just like the delusional, brainwashed people they speak of?
They move on from this topic. I smile, nodding along to their conversation. They’re smart, smarter than I’ll ever be. I think I should believe them, but something inside me holds back.
I want to believe in God.
I snuggle into my blanket. It’s getting chillier, with a soft breeze accompanying the dropping temperature. Suddenly, a moth flies by and lands on the table. We all pause – they stop their conversation – to stare at it. I think of them as Night Butterflies. My mother used to tell me that a moth represents the soul of a loved one fluttering down from Heaven.
Again, I wondered if I should believe her.
The moth ruffles its furry wings. It’s a large one, a little bigger than a quarter of my palm. I’m tempted to reach out and stroke its soft body.
We watch the moth in silence. It’s beautiful, this small creature. When it lifts its wings, my heart jumps in excitement. It’s about to take off into the night. I hold my breath in anticipation.
It leaps into the crisp night air.
My breath releases in a whoosh. I look at them, and they smile, watching the moth with the same joy that must be evident on my face.
But instead of lifting gloriously into the night sky, the beautiful creature sails into the fire. We watch, paralyzed, as it burns. It struggles to crawl out but in seconds it is devoured by the flames. Only a pinch of dark ash remains.
The silence is deafening.
Death is everywhere. It rings in my head, reverberating between the left and right sides of my skull like sound waves. It crawls into my ears, into my lungs, so that I’m left gasping for air. It slithers around my ankles and up into my chest. Its fangs sink into my heart until all that’s left is a gory mess that no amount of stitches will mend.
It happened so quickly. My mind reels with the sudden speed of death striking. In a fraction of a second, the moth’s life burned into nothingness. No time to save it, but endless time to contemplate it.
I am so afraid to die. Will this be my end? Sailing into a fire so my dreams, my aspirations, my love burn up into the night sky until all that is left is a memory?
They talk about the moth, laughing nervously about the gravity of the situation. Eventually, they move on to another subject, until the moth is nothing but a memory.
Death consumes me, until I – like the moth – burn into the night sky.