When a child holds a sparkler, it becomes more than just a simple wire fused with fuel, oxidizers, and pyrotechnic colorants. It is a measure of precious moments that drift by in a dance of delight. Before the sparkler comes to its end, the flame must be passed quickly to another so the dance can begin anew. Every child knows this but adults forget.
I wonder if my life might be a sparkler dance…slow to start and emitting only a hint of a flame. My mother hoped I would be a “firecracker baby.” Yet, I arrived a day late and like my sisters without the right chromosomes to carry on the family name. Despite my stuttering start, I learned to make Mom laugh with antics and wit. At school, I was quiet and shy perhaps pleasing my father and cupping my fragile flame from the slights of others. It was in college that that I began to move with reckless speed fueled by the oxidants of rebellion, drugs, and promiscuity. There was little that gave me pause as I danced like Tinker Bell flitting from one novelty to another, but still locked in a cage of my own limitations.
It was another dancer who slowed me, taking my face in his hands and allowing me to see myself through his eyes. I learned to dance with him…sometimes our sparks aligned making a brighter flame, and sometimes we danced apart. Yet, we always twirled back stronger from our solos.
My dance has begun to slow now with creaking knees and aching hips. I know the flame creeps closer to the uncoated wire. Sometimes, I feel its warmth grazing my fingertips and know time is fleeting. There is an urgency to share my flame and let the dance go on. ~c.h.