I lay stiff, clutching the pink flowered bedspread under my chin, I strained to hear past the whippoorwills’ first calls of the night. My belly ached in that specific longing way that feels like heartbreak. My bedroom windows were open; the heavy air carried the scent of grass clippings and sweet honeysuckle in its thickness.
Outside my window, friends taunted me with their yelping to and fro in preparation for the light show about to commence. Mason jars were gathered, nails driven into lids, and strategies laid out. When the sky turned deeply orange with only moments left of light, the mysterious beetles made their appearance and lit up the night.
From my bed, within the frame of my window, I saw the swarm sparkle past. A trail of flailing Mason jars came next, seemingly propelled only by laughter and an occasional bobbing head, breathless from the chase. I was motionless, not only did I wish to be in their midst, I was incredibly humiliated that I wasn’t. I surely didn’t want to be caught bathed and in bed while every other kid in the neighborhood gallivanted about.
Eventually, the crickets joined the whippoorwills' evening chorus, kids were summoned home and against my efforts, sleep came over me.
Amazingly, the day followed night; I survived the disappointment and humiliation and sat down to a new day where the Captn Crunch was just as sweet as it had ever been.