For Diwali 2012, and for my friends who are celebrating tonight.

A whine, rising as the sparks do; a flash of light and a moment of perfect, blinding clarity, then the firework fizzles, fades and drops.

He sighs, pulling his briefcase closer to his body, just yet another weary traveller. The streets are soaked, the rain a constant drizzle, and his hair is lying flat to his head, spiked and dripping.

It’s been too long since he’s trodden these streets, felt these stones under his feet. He looks up – smoke drifts in hazy clouds through the sky, black on dusky orange, the remnant of light and noise.

The booms and whistles sound around him as he walks, making him occasionally dart a glance at the sky, just in case there’s another one; but no, just darkness and sound.

The candle in the window is the first thing that alerts him – a flickering, steady light. It feels like it’s waiting for him. He sucks in a breath, realising that that might just be the case, and speeds his pace. Faster, towards home.

He raps on the door once, twice, three times; she’ll know it’s him. There’s a silence, a moment of bated breath –

Then the door is open, his wife’s arms around him; the kids join her, his daughter grabbing for his hand, and just for a moment of perfect, blinding clarity, all is right.

The firework doesn’t fade, only continues to bloom.


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