This is the last post in a short series about how Pearl has coped with the loss of her best friend, Blanche. The series began with this post if you want to start at the beginning.
Pearl called again more insistently. I went back to her.
“What is it, Sweetie? Are you okay?”
“Do you think those little fireflies are like that too?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I have nothing to share with them. When I tell them jokes, they don’t laugh. I have told them my very-best-ever-never-fail jokes, the ones that had everyone else rolling on the ground with laughter. Once Blanche was laughing so hard she laid an egg right in the middle of my joke. But the fireflies don’t think any of my jokes are funny at all.
“But when I cluck, ‘Bawk. Bawk. Bwawk-a-Bock,’ they make a ‘Blink. Blink. Blink-a-Blonk’ with their lights.”
“And when I cluck, ‘Bock. Bwawk-a-Bwawk. Bock. Bock,’ they make a ‘Blonk. Blink-a-Blink. Blonk. Blonk’ with their lights.”
“What do you think that means, Pearl?”
“I think it means, I hope it means, they love me even if they don’t understand my jokes.”
“Do you feel the emptiness in your life being filled, even if just a little?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Then that is certainly love. And the best kind of love. They love you with the same kind of love Blanche had for you.
“They don’t love you because you told them a funny joke. They can’t understand your jokes. They love you because you have nothing to share with them except your heart. They can understand the goodness of your heart. It’s all they need to know. That’s just like Blanche.”
“Why do you think the fireflies didn’t show up until this summer?”
“Maybe they have been here all along, but you never noticed them before. Sometimes things are that way. They are beautiful. They are like tiny little miracles, don’t you think?”
“Yes, and they are my friends.”
“They absolutely are.”
“And they love me no matter what.”
“They absolutely do.”
“And you are sure?”
“I absolutely am.”
Her old smile began to return. She was fine to be by herself now without me because she didn’t feel alone any more. I stood and looked at her innocently hopeful face.
“You are such a pearl, my little Pearl.”
We said our final goodnights. She was happy now. As I headed back inside for the second time, I wondered what would happen when summer turned to autumn and the fireflies disappeared until their next season.
For now, the bawking and blinking would be enough.
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