Summer was the roman candle that took my favorite color up into the air. She splashed rainbow after rainbow across the sky and let them crackle, flicker, cool and eventually fade into silver metal flecks that floated above my head so far out of reach. Teenagers set off cherry bombs in parking lots and kids ran around backyards with sparklers in both hands, illuminating the evening in irregular streaks. Music was playing but from somewhere far enough away that it sounded like a dull heartbeat — only if you plugged your ears, you could still feel it because it was in you. Burnt orange and baby blue hung suspended in a mist for what seemed like hours even though there was a breeze blowing down the length of the coast. In the valley far below, a glowing galaxy of streetlights cast blurry shadows around the city, through alleyways, around corners and across the sides of buildings. You could touch the shadows and if you did, your hands came away black and sooty. You could walk through shadows hanging in mid-air like sheets on a clothesline and you could feel the tiny grains touch your open eyes before you blinked and they fell to the ground like dust. I imagined I was somewhere in the sky, running my hand down a moonbeam like you would a staircase banister but rather at an upward angle. I followed it across the sky from one star to another, connecting the dots until it led me through the deepest darkness I’d ever known. Finally the morning light turned over on the horizon like an ember in a fireplace before it glows and eventually catches fire. I made it home and you were there waiting for me and it was then that I realized it was you who stirred the fire and guided me through the blackness. I’ve been called a moonlighter before but this may be the first time it all adds up.

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