Wow. Another Christmas in the books. This past week has been a whirlwind of events and places and people, and I’m grateful for all of it. This year was extraordinarily special. I hope to talk about that soon. Stay tuned….
The Slaughter kids were overwhelmed with gifts, and I have tons of pictures of their happy little faces as they tear into packages. But I wanted to share one of my favorite gifts.
This may just be the most thoughtful gift Matt Slaughter has ever given me. I love it so much I can’t even begin to explain.
A jar filled with lightening bugs that light up and flicker.
There is a scene in my book. (You know… the book that isn’t published. Yeah, that’s the one.) The scene is one of my favorites and one that was probably the hardest to write. I finally had to make myself put it down because I don’t think I could ever feel that it’s perfect.
In the scene, one of the main characters, Malcolm, is trying to let go and say goodbye. He ends up getting a little help in the most unlikely of places in the most unlikely of ways by the most unlikely of people. I’ll share a little below.
He fell upon his knees at the stone bearing her image, lowered his face to the ground, and sobbed as he had the day he left her there. Beulah Two was careful not to frighten him. She placed her hand on his back as gently as she could. He raised his bloodshot eyes to her and leaned his back against the stone. Slowly, the little girl extended the jar toward him. Malcolm watched the tiny insect crawl along glass bottom, searching for a way out of its prison. Suddenly its body illuminated with a beautiful green glow, and it flew to the top of the jar, only to be met by the metal lid. Malcolm reached out and took it in his blistered hand.
“Remember the story?” Beulah Two asked him. “The one you told me about Anna and the lightenin’ bugs?”
Malcolm nodded. “I remember.”
“You said Ms. Anna was sad when she seen all the lightenin’ bugs you put in the jars. You said you and Ms. Anna opened up all the lids and let ‘em go.”
“Every single one.”
“You said that when they flew out they looked just like stars dancin’ above your heads, like stars you just set free, and they flew up to the sky and found the place they belonged.”
Malcolm’s bottom lip quivered. The lightening bug was climbing up the glass again. Beulah Two knelt down beside him. “Do you remember?”
She took his right hand and placed in onto the jar’s lid. “Set her free. That’s what Ms. Anna would want. Let her fly right on up to the sky so she can be beautiful again.”
Malcolm’s hands shook. He stared into Beulah Two’s small face, so innocent and bold. Her hand was frozen still on top of his as she waited for him to make a move. Her dark eyes gazed into his, imploring his. He looked out over the cemetery again. So many other lights, so many lives. His vision blurred with tears. He blinked them away and noticed a single light float toward the sky. He watched it rise higher and higher above the graves, flashing its green radiance, until it disappeared from sight.
Thank you, Matt. If everyone knew how amazing you are, there wouldn’t be enough of you to go around.