She ran barefoot in the grass, hair streaming behind her in strands of moonlit ribbons.
Her mother called her inside but she wouldn’t go.
She was searching for fireflies.
Last year, right before her father died, he pulled her aside and asked her to listen to the crickets. Summer’s song, he called them.
They had iced tea that night in late July, the ice melting, glass beading up with droplets of water in the humid heat.
The sun cast desperate rays through tree branches, glowing orange fingers reaching out for someone to hold them. But she didn’t. And they nestled in the bushes waiting for morning.
Fireflies danced around their heads, lighting up the porch, and her father beamed with them. Nature’s nightlights, he said.
They sipped sweet tea to a chorus of insects.
She traced a line down the side of her glass, peeking through her hair at her father. Will you be here to listen to the chirping and watch the blinking bugs tomorrow? she wondered.
Her father was dying.
She was old enough to know he would be leaving soon and young enough to ask him not to go.
He had laughed. She remembered that vividly because it startled her and the sweaty, cold glass slipped from her hand.
And it felt so good to cry. For the lost sweet tea that pooled near her toes and for her father who was being forced from the world he loved with a smile on his face.
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Week 67 Prompt: Tea