As the midnight dandelion blooms


Photo by Raymond Vince Manaloto/THE FLAME

IN THE days leading up to New Year, Barbara’s parents would often talk about a strange firework that only appears once every 23 years. Its beauty can hypnotize anyone, they say, and leave them breathless.

Its origin is unknown. Many had tried to look for the source, but it seemed to magically appear in the sky without any sign—other than a distant sound of a banshee scream. She had not seen it herself. 

When she sat there on the swing atop a hill overlooking her hometown, all she had were her parents’ stories. She’d heard how its beauty would eat up the sky, like a green dandelion bursting out of nowhere. She knew how it granted wishes, including her mother’s.

“Can we see it, please?”

Her mother pursed her lips and smiled. “We would love to but I’ll be at the hos—”

“House,” her father interjected. “Aunt Jessie’s, right?”

When her mother forced a smile, she knew it had something to do with that gynecologist again. She didn’t know what the word meant, but it’s one of the few things that could take away her mother’s smile. 

A few hours before New Year’s Eve, she ran to the hill by herself and waited for the fireworks. 

At the stroke of midnight, fireworks rushed upward and dotted lights illuminated the sky like a field of stars. When she heard the sound of a banshee scream, she clasped her hand tight, closed her eyes, and whispered.

“I wish for a younger sister.” F

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