I am The Shai.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The fireflies danced around the broken street light. I wasn't so sure why they did that. To my understanding, only moths do that. Maybe the fireflies felt a connection to this broken street light. There are many broken street lights along this street but they choose this one. Every night it's the same one. But at least they illuminated this particular spot of the street and it's becoming my favourite spot.

This dalliance of shadows intrigues me, appearing before me like a graceful orgy. I stand in the darkness, just next to the spot of light not wanting the fireflies to know I'm there. I stare, fixated at the shadows that play freely on the gravel. And when I decide to look up again, the fireflies remind me of stars.

It reminded me of the days when I was a boy of seven and I had the solar system glowing in the dark in my room. I was never scared of the dark when I was a child because I knew I always had the vast sky and the rest of its inhabitants watching over me, keeping me safe. When I stirred from a nightmare or when I awoke to use the little boy's room, the stars always shone and the moon always smiled at me.

When I grew older, I took comfort in open spaces. The stars and their friends were not in my room anymore and I had to go outside. I'd find a field, an open track or an empty pool and I'd lie down. I had the littlest care for anything else when I'm on the ground. I'd look up and I'd smile to see my friends.

Over the years however, it got a bit lonely doing all that by myself. I had wished upon many a shooting star when I was a young boy and true to its promise, the stars granted my wish. I had found a companion who loved to do the same. A girl who not only found comfort in the sky but also the warmth in my hands. Not only would she would my hands when we counted the stars but she would rest her head on my shoulder and she'd snuggle up to me and she'd steal occasional kisses. And I'd just smile. I smiled for every wish the stars had granted me.

The years always passed, the buildings kept coming up and growing higher by the day but we always had our sky and stars and we shared this with our little ones. They preferred running across the open spaces instead of lying down like us but we never minded. We still held hands, I would now steal the occasional kisses and she'd still snuggle up to me. On occasion the little ones would try to squeeze in and they usually do it successfully.

I thought the stars and the sky would always protect me, protect my loved ones. The stars stopped coming out for me one night. I never understood why, I tried asking but I never received an answer. And the only conclusion I could come up with was that the stars would grant me countless wishes but it appeared I had been wishing upon too many shooting stars that no one else had been granted any wishes.

And the years passed, and the little ones are not so little anymore. Only she and I are left and we never lay on open spaces anymore. I sometimes try to find the stars but they're never there. And then one day, the sky took her away and there I was, left where I started. Alone, no more stars. Not until I found the fireflies.

And here I am again, with the fireflies. I open my eyes and they're still there. I lay myself down on the very spot where the shadows play and I look up and I saw the stars again. But, it was brief. The fireflies started disappearing one by one and soon, the streets were dark again. I laid there for a while longer, secretly hoping for the stars to come out again.

I don't know how long I laid there for but I it wasn't until I saw streaks of red vandalizing my night sky that I realised that I had to get up. I got up and I walked away, as quickly as I could. In my youth, I could've run but now I tried to scurry as fast as I could. I wanted to get away from it. The sun was never my friend. I miss my friends. Please return my stars to me.


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