“But she isn’t usual.” Shyam said, poking the fireplace with a stick.
“Unusual is exciting, Shyam old chap. It always is,” said Ravi, lighting his pipe.
“She spoke to me and I felt honored, enlightened. Is that a feeling one gets when one is in love?”
“Ah, but how wonderful that feeling is! For a man to feel humbled and small in the presence of a woman is something you don’t get to hear about much these days, do you?”
“She is the fairest creature you would ever lay your eyes on, Ravi. Her skin glows bright yellow under the moonlight; hair flowing down her curved back, engulfing her like the ocean. The smile has something of a child’s innocence and wickedness and the most astoundingly perfect nose.” Shyam said, gazing at the crackling fire, sparks of yellow and orange jumping up.
“Was there ever a creature as fine as this? You are in trouble.”
“She has ruined me.”
“Well, what man isn’t ruined in love? You feel no other can reach up to her; that the bar is set so high and the fall equally great. But it is only when we fall that we truly know who we are.” Ravi said, puffing out a circle of smoke.
“I guess you’re right, Ravi. Have you ever felt it?”
“I’ve spent my whole life avoiding this feeling. It’s easy to fall in love, my dear. But it takes perseverance to be ruined.”
“You make it sound prestigious, Ravi. I’m not sure I agree.”
“Trust me, when it pays off you’re going to come and thank me.”
“When it pays off,” Shyam said whispering to himself, still gazing into the fire.
“Well, I better get to bed. I’ve got to meet the missus early tomorrow for breakfast,” Ravi said, rising from his chair.
“Same time, next week, Doctor?”
“Yes. And I want to hear more progress my dear boy.”
“I think I’m going to kiss her tonight, Ravi. Yes, I think I’ll take that chance. Goodnight, Ravi.”
It was pitch dark outside with very few streetlights along the road as Shyam left Ravi’s house. Walking toward his home, he saw flashes of yellows and greens among bushes on either side which looked like an endless line of scattered little bulbs lighting the night and his path. He was always fascinated with fireflies, the night seemed less lonely to him whenever they came out. In their movements and swirls he could always form her picture.
He decided to go to her house; she lived not more than 15 minutes away from his own. As he approached the wooded fence gate which opened to her front lawn, he felt like he had forgotten something, something that did not seem important to him at the time. He saw her standing outside her door, on the lawn, her bare feet on wet, pointed grass. From afar she looked like a shadow, a colorless outline under a starry night, yet Shyam knew it was her. As he approached her she became clearer. Color began to fill her face and body. She wore the same green shirt and white frock as she did the previous night. Slowly walking towards her, she was two inches from his feet now. As he stared into her eyes he realized how inviting her expression was. He leaned his head forward, his dry and pale mouth touching her exquisitely pink lips. Both locked in an embrace for a moment before she shattered into tiny yellow dust particles, evaporating into the nightly sky like a million glowing fireflies. “You’ve ruined me,” Shyam said as he glanced at the dark, empty house through the window before he turned around for his walk back home.