Once upon a time, things had been different in a grand old sort of way. A life lived on the upper edge as if soaring ever onward on the silver tipped wings of a peregrine falcon. Life had unfurled, striped and bedazzled, beboggled as if agoge at some fantastic celebration. All it lacked were actual fireworks to burst across the sky in torrents of red, white, gold, and green. Fiery flowers dancing in the air, born in a single, shattering explosion to a life of ethereal beauty. All they knew was heaven. From their point of view, the world below was broad and flat and all its inhabitants only so many upturned faces, gaping in awe or cowering in terror.
What divinity, she thought, to live as fireworks did. What divinity and yet, when they were gone, no one noticed. No one remarked on the death of a sparkler, on the loss of a Roman candle. No one mourned that flashy green puff of light in the night sky, ringed by silver drops like angels’ tears. They gloried only in a firework’s life and forgot it ever existed the moment it expired.
So maybe the life of a firework wasn’t perfect, but at least people noticed. At least they cared, if only for a moment.
It was in this wistful and resentful mood that she snatched her red paper cup from the counter, strode out of the shop, and was struck by the number 95 uptown bus, the side of which advertised life insurance.
Author’s Note: Found a writing exercise from my time in the Kidd Tutorial program. Still trying to make sense of it. Your thoughts/feels?
2 thoughts on “Life Insurance”
I was a little perplexed by the first paragraph. But on second reading I was envisioning springtime and all the falling blossom petals in the wind.
And I loved the thought of fireworks being mentioned. Her busy mind began to wander and her irritations of not being noticed or remembered were somehow connected to the memory of burnt out fireworks. What was happening that day for her? Where had she been? How did she draw the connections of the first paragraph to the second? Was it daytime? Was it night? Anyway it turns, it was great.
I especially liked the end.
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Glad you liked it, Shelly. Your questions are a great starting point to expand this story. I wish I could remember what the prompt or assignment was that generated this story, but it’s been awhile. The thing I thought was interesting about re-reading it is how much I liked it (I type modestly). My point is – save your writing and read it later. Most of the time I’m horrified, to be honest, but every so often, I’m pleasently surprised and those are the magic moments that keep me writing.