A Light in the Dark


I step away from the group and look back, gasping at the stars overhead. Even against the bright warmth of the flames, I’ve never seen the Milky Way this clear before. I can hear the waves breaking nearby, and the wind hissing through the last of the tall grass.

I let out a deep sigh.

They’re all talking together in low tones, occasionally laughing at an inside joke. It’s rare we can all get together like this, like old times. Life gets in the way doesn’t it? Families grow and get complicated, relationships break, or mend if you’re lucky. Ben’s marriage fell apart, Abby’s on her second, and Carrie’s been trying for a baby for three years now.

In the glow of the fire I can see how tired she is, how she’s trying to hide her pain, but she’s smiling now, and that’s something, isn’t it?

Just like how Tom is recovering after rehab, and Julie’s wife – who was deported – should be allowed home soon, we hope.

It’s amazing to think that all we used to worry about were things like the next math test, or the homecoming dance.

I look back up to the stars and take in their soft eternal light. I think of how they’ve existed for billions of years. The light reaching my eyes right now has taken millions of light-years to get here, to touch the Earth, this spinning rock where all of human history has ever and will ever happen. Until the day when we can go and explore the stars ourselves, of course. . .

Maybe then we’ll have figured out a cure for cancer. For hunger. For poverty. For war. Maybe then, when we’ve found a way to leave this planet that we’ve ruined, we’ll know how to save human life in small ways as well as big.

I shuffle my boot into the sand and take another deep breath, clearing out my city lungs and easing the knot in my chest. My friends’ laughter flowers out from the fire and into the night, and I can’t help but smile.

Despite all we’ve been through, despite all we’ll still go through, we’re here now, tonight, together, sharing stories and spreading some joy, some warmth, some light, in the darkness.

And that is enough.




4 thoughts on “A Light in the Dark

  1. Brings to mind many a night like this for me. And not in a bad way. Thank you for gently reminding me of great evenings spent with long ago friends.

    Liked by 1 person

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