i found a lone firefly, by the lake – quite
unlike its kind of swarming, swimming
insects – and too during the day. i took
a liking to it. i scooped it up – and then
i almost asphyxiated the poor thing in
my cupped hands – i didn’t have a jar. i
took it home, found a delightful roomy
mason – as i wanted it to have enough
breathing space. but i forgot to punch
some holes into the lid – i learnt giving
someone space could mean different
things for different people – no matter
how much you love them & how much
of it you show. that was the end of my
first hopeful relationship, with a firefly
of course.

a few years later, when i was over the
initial grief of loss, the endless nights
of the feeling of abandon, and almost
nearly at the end of all sorrows, while
ambling through the hollow hallways
of faintly intensifying light – i found a
very nice someone. we talked for hours
the narrow tunnel of my vision, where
only i could see him and i only could
see him. but i held back – what if, my
memory was playing tricks on me – if
this, was the fabled repeating history
and i was poised to make amends? – i
resorted to casual caresses in the rare
events where he asked for it. i became
a wish granting machine, but needs? i
had none. slowly, he noticed the way i
hesitated. instead of pulling away, he
closed the swelling gap – is this okay?
he asked at every touch, at every little
thing i taught myself not to trust. and,
just like that, i learnt, the definition of
space, and trust, and want, is simply
what you want it to be. what you give
to another, is their decision to accept –
or reject – and yours to neither dictate
nor submit to.

Shravani Sawant