“here,” he said. he held his cupped hands towards her, gesturing for her to take whatever was in his hands. she walked forward towards him.
“what is it?”
“a firefly,” he replies. “be careful. they’re delicate.”
she takes the firefly from his hands and looks as it glows between her palms. she opens her hands, freeing the trapped insect, it quickly flies away. they both watch it carefully and then continue to walk down the dark street.
“everyone is so mad about that lion,” he says after a few seconds of silent walking. “the one the dentist killed.”
“yeah,” she replies.
they fall into silence again. neither feel a need to fill the silence.
they walk up a driveway, the house at the end is noisy -- filled with teenagers drinking and smoking and making out in dark corners. as they arrive on the patio he sees an ant running on the ground and thoughtlessly moves a foot to squish it. between his foot and the concrete the ant dies.
the firefly, presumably, is still flying somewhere.
“do you ever think about how we only respect things that are beautiful?” she asks. “doesn’t that scare you?”
the door opens, their friend greets them and they both walk into the party.
the ant is dead and no one cares, the lion is dead and everyone cares, the firefly is, presumably, still flying somewhere.
later, a boy puts a hand on her thigh and she cringes.
Kyla Bills is an undergraduate at New York University. She cares a lot about the internet. You can probably find her there. Her debut collection of poetry, Everything Dies and I Guess That’s Okay was published in 2015 by Ghost City Press. She tweets @KylaBills.