Christopher Bloodworth


We stood under the trees that night, stars falling around us. You leaned into me. We held candles instead of each other.

Mine sputtered as the stars fell, little bits of hot wax burning my fingers. Yours only sent up weak wisps of smoke, but you breathed in every possible bit of the dead fire.

“I can light it again,” you said.

I could only give you a weak smile. You’d already tried lighting it a million times. You’d been trying since before the stars began to fall.

“I can light it,” you said.

I nodded even though it was the first time what you’d said disgusted me. You always talked about relighting that candle.

I tried one last time.

“I have a light,” I said.

“It’s not this candle though. It’s not that light. It’s not the same.”

“Why would it be?” I asked.

My candle sputtered again, flinging hot wax all up my arm. I threw that candle into the fallen stars that lay in mountains around us.

I lit up the way I knew how. Warmth and light blossomed from my chest.

“I can light it,” you repeated, sniffing the air for any missed trails of smoke. “I can.”

I lit up brighter, trying to bathe you in warmth and light.

You sighed, stepping away from me. “I can light it.”

“Hey,” she said.

I crushed the light inside myself as I turned my back on you. I could hear your footsteps in the darkness, crunching stars beneath your feet as you mumbled the same thing again.

I looked into her eyes and she asked, “Do you know where we are?”

I shook my head no.

She smiled and the stars held up the sky.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “We can both light the way.”