I sat, overlooking the green lush hills of Sorrento. I came here to escape. Escape the rejection, the humiliation of a marriage in shambles, the pain of watching the devastated faces of my children. But what’s that expression? You can run but you can’t hide. I was trying to hide. From my family and friends, but mostly from myself. Isn’t that who one really is hiding from when you get right down to it?
It wasn’t working. Even the exquisite wine and food of this extraordinary place no longer worked. I couldn’t stay here forever. I have responsibilities. I have a job. An important position in the accounting firm. As my boss told me as I packed up my files, thoroughly intending to work while on my extended ‘vacation,’ ‘Don’t forget, you’re the bedrock of this company.” I suspected I was also the bedrock of our family. I don’t think anyone knew this, but everyone’s bedrock was slowly crumbling.
As I sat there, lost in my depressingly dismal thoughts, lights begin to flash before my eyes. My stomach lurched and I panicked, immediately thinking back to the beginning of my mom’s paralyzing migraines. Oh God, please not that. I closed my eyes and opened them again. No migraine looming on the horizon – just hundreds of fireflies, or lightning bugs, as we called them back in Tennessee.
Hundreds of them, lighting up the entire hillside. I remember trying to catch them when I was a child, and then, later, doing the same with my own children. My son relished the whole process. But Megan, she had a whole belief system worked out. To her, these incandescent wonders of the insect world represented an angel sent from Heaven to guide us forward. She refused to catch them. I remember her pleading with her brother not to catch them, telling him that if the fireflies died, they couldn’t help you. Our fireflies were always quickly released. As I gazed, I knew there were a lot of angels out there. Was one, perhaps, meant for me?
It dawned on me I missed my children. Both grown now, neither lived far from me. I even missed my job and colleagues. I was homesick. It was time to go home. If I left soon, I’d be home in time for the “firefly” season in Tennessee and our evening summertime ritual of cookies and lemonade on our deck, watching the fireflies light up our backyard. And Megan still held firm in her belief.
Maybe my firefly angel will be home, waiting for me.