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Spurt up in red sulfur to fly in a million, chaotic directions like angry hornets. Smoke hangs over the water, and the dusky hills are crowned with deep crimson. The harbor is hazy, lit with the white lights. The seals are long gone. I would have dove deep too, back when I was fresh from the saltwater. But now, whatever. This place is my home. You’re the intruder, here on my turf. I kick back on the cool grass, taking pictures with my brother, content.

Stars shine overhead and I pick out the constellations one by one. The smells of sulfur and brine mix in my nose. A trail of light out over the inlet to land with a sizzle in the water. One child watches his sparkler, undaunted by its dunking in the water. Lights will shine as long as the maker made them to last. Another child makes his glow stick explode, spattering himself with glowing green light. The little firefly. Yet another child asks his dad where the moon has gone. “They blew it up,” his dad answers. My brother and I snigger. Kids.

The light show explodes directly overhead; others shoot up from the hills across the inlets. Sometimes it feels so close I can touch it. It’s scarce above the treetop. One of these years I’m going to go out on a kayak during the 4th. As long as none of the fireworks come my way. Some fools on the bridge are shooting them low, out over the water to die early. The warmth of the evening and the comfort of my brother nearby make this a time to remember.