Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Firefly and the Egg


                                                       
Lila was stuck in a series of doubtful moods. The night sky was backlit by an unseen moon. There was not one star to play with, to stare at through her eyelashes until it offered her a golden strand to swing upon to the face of the star then back again to earth. Swing out and away then home again free, freed from doubtful moods.
She saw this night’s sky as a grey dome covering her in the opaque shell of an egg. Lila pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She was beginning to feel like an egg, contained within her own dense shell, thinking when she would rather be dreaming, sitting when she would rather be flying.
“There are fireflies, and then again, there are eggs.” Said the large grey cat sitting beside her on the porch.
“What do you mean?” Lila asked.
“I mean, if you are an Egg, you do not long to fly.” Answered the cat.
“The cat is speaking, again.” Sighed the brindle dog sitting at Lila’s other side.
Lila patted the dog’s head and was silent for a while. Then, she said, “Well I still miss the stars, and I still feel like an egg.”
The dog leaned against Lila. He stared at the cold overcast sky. He turned his head and stared at the doorway behind them that led into the warm house. Then, he stared meaningfully into Lila’s eyes. Lila stood and turned towards the door.
“I knew a firefly who tried to be an egg.” Said the cat.
“Oh?” Lila asked. She turned away from the door.
“Yes said the cat. “It all started because, well, eggs can be attracted to fireflies.”
“Really?” Lila asked. She sat back down between the large grey cat and the brindle dog, propped her elbows on her knees and rested her chin on her hands.
“And now it begins.” Sighed the dog. He curled into a round ball. “The cat’s speaking, and Lila’s listening. We’ll not be going inside, not now.” He sighed once more and closed his eyes.
“Yes, eggs can be attracted to fireflies.” Continued the cat. “Fireflies are pretty and very unlike the egg. This catches the egg’s eye.”
“Then what happens?”’ Lila asked.
“The egg charms the firefly into becoming the egg’s pet. But, the egg requires that the firefly must contain itself and flare in a predictable manner.”
“Why would a firefly do that?” Lila asked.
“Eggs are clean and handsomely smooth and they glow warmly when they reflect the light of the firefly. Sometimes a firefly is attracted by this glow and is pleased that the egg shows interest. So, to please the egg, the firefly cuts down on its glowing and stops flying. It does not realize the glow is its own reflection on the surface of the egg.”
“The firefly tries to please the egg?” Lila asked.
“Sometimes. And when a firefly tries to please an egg by insulating itself from sudden flares,  after a while it looses its spark it becomes tired all the time. Fireflies should never try to please an egg. It turns them into fuzzwads.”
“Fuzzwads?”
“Yes. Fuzzy dull grey wads with no light, unable to fly.  A firefly is always cold when it turns into a fuzzwad. It huddles quietly next to the formerly glowing egg trying to get warm. This pleases the egg. It is pleased that under its influence the firefly is learning to evolve into its true form as an egg. You see, the egg is so dense it thinks the fuzzwad is a rudimentary egg.
“Is the firefly happy when the egg is pleased?” Lila asked.
“Happy?” Asked the cat in reply. “Remember, Lila, the firefly is now a fuzzwad. It could even be said that a fuzzwad is a dying firefly.”
Lila looked at the cat and said nothing.
The dog opened his eyes, then closed them when the cat began speaking again.
“The fuzzwad is content for a while to be in the company of the egg. Eggs are very convincing. They have convinced everyone that the egg was here first and is therefore the center of the universe. Thusly, the fuzzwad feels fortunate to have the egg for a friend. Eggs take themselves very seriously.”
“Do eggs ever laugh?” Lila asked.
“They chuckle. They occasionally snort. I do not know if they giggle or not. Eggs do not guffaw. They believe too much laughing can get out of control and cause a crack. Containment is of the utmost importance to the egg.” Said the cat.
“Does the egg like the firefly better when it becomes a fuzzwad?” Lila asked.
“Well, a fuzzwad is much more contained than a firefly. This is preferable to the egg, of course. Also fuzzwads make them more comfortable, cushion their nest. Eggs value their comfort. It gives them composure.”
“But the egg liked the pretty firefly.” Lila said.
“Eggs do not truly believe fireflies exist. Since the fuzzwad does not glow and does not fly, the egg tosses off such notions as fantasy. Fireflies are, they believe, a reflection of light on a speck of dust.  The very idea that a fuzzzwad thinks that it was once a flying speck of dust is proof to the egg of the fuzzwad’s incompleteness as an egg.” Said the cat.
“But it it was the firefly’s glowing and flying that caught the egg’s eye. That’s what you said.”
“I said, the firefly is pretty and unlike the egg. That is all the egg noticed.”
“Oh.” Lila said. “Well, does the firefly like being a fuzzwad?”
“Fuzzwads usually feel guilty for not being more egglike, out of loyalty to the generous egg. They can remember flying and glowing, a little bit. Most often, a fuzzwad just thinks it is a dull messy egg and feels unattractive and inferior to the larger, smoothly defined egg. Once a firefly hold down its spark and becomes a fuzzwad, it too acts like the egg is the center of the universe.”
“What do the other fireflies think when one of them becomes a fuzzwad?
“That it spent too much time in the company of eggs. Occasionally they buzz the fuzzwad in they hopes they can spark its memory of being a firefly.”
“Does the fuzzwad remember?” Lila asked.
“Yes, but it uses its spark trying to convince the egg that it used to fly.” Answered the cat.
“Does the egg listen?”
“Oh, the egg’s denseness is vast. They are thoughtful in appearance, but eggs do not really listen. They pat the little fuzzwad and say,  ‘You have no proof.’ and, ‘you don’t really believe such things.’  Then, they sigh heavily to the other eggs and expound upon their belief that fuzzwads are irrational and difficult. Eggs are filled with beliefs. This leaves them little room for thinking.
“What do the other eggs do?”
“They discuss what a problem fuzzwads can be. Then, the eggs all agree what a good egg it is to have been so selfless to allow the disruptive fuzzwad equal time and space without loosing composure. Eggs believe they are very open-minded and kind, especially to their inferiors. “
“Doesn’t this make the fuzzwad angry and want to fly away?” Lila asked.
“Yes. But eggs are convincing, remember? Now the fuzzwad thinks in order to glow and be a firefly again, it must be able to convince the egg this is possible. Yes, the fuzzwad is upset but it is upset that it cannot properly express itself to the wiser egg. In effect, the fuzzwad gets unhappier and unhappier, and dimmer and messier, has a few more unacceptable flares that the egg generously and promptly overlooks. Soon, the fuzzwad will die in the company of an egg.”
“Is the egg sad when the fuzzwad dies?” Lila asked.
“The egg doesn’t notice. Dead fuzzwads harden up. The egg just assumes that the fuzzwad, with patience on the egg’s part has finally learned how to truly be a proper egg. The egg believes it has accomplished a heroic deed.”
Lila sat quietly for a while. Then, she asked, “Is that the end of the story?”
“If you live in eggdom and aspire to become an egg, it is. If you miss being a firefly, there is another possibility.”
“Which is what?” Lila asked.
“A fuzzwad with strong memory and even a tiny fragment of its inner spark has been known to turn back into a firefly.”
“Is it happy again?” Lila asked.
“It is even more than happy. It realizes that its unhappiness did not come from being unable to prove to the egg that it was once a firefly. It was unhappy simply because it no longer flew.
The cat stopped speaking. Lila, the dog, and the cat sat silently beneath the starless sky.
“I’m not an egg.” Said the dog.
“I did not say that you were.” Said the cat.
Lila laughed. She stood and opened the door. The little candle on the table beside the window glowed softly.
“No eggs live in this house. She said. “Not tonight.”
Lila the brindle dog, and the large grey cat went inside. The door closed behind them. Gently, Lila blew out the candle and they each went off to their own warm bed.
The end.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Judy,

    You certainly have a way of weaving incredible stories. Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Truedessa. As do you!

      Delete