Twinkle by Twinkle
He meets her when he's young and naïve, the night when his cousin Clement marries Anabelle, and the whole family is still dancing through the trees. Raymond had thought that Anabelle was the prettiest firefly that had ever twinkled upon the Bayou, but even her light does not compare to the pretty lady he sees shining way high over there, higher than the trees, all the way up over the sky.
That first night, Raymond doesn't know what to say and he just looks at her, not even daring to twinkle at her, and he looks and he looks until she goes for the night.
She's there again the next night, as Ray had hoped she'd be, and this time he does twinkle, turning and shining and giving it his all. The pretty lady twinkles as if she was amused.
"Bonsoir!" he tells her, giving her his very best smile. He can feel his butt twinkling and buzzing, in delight and in fright. "'s a pretty night to twinkle, oui? Almost as pretty as the present company!"
And oh, he came on too strong: the pretty lady hides among the clouds, and Ray can't apologize as he has to go and take shelter from the rain.
It's three days before he's able to see her again, and there's an embarrassed twinkle to her that he matches. Ray rubs his feet together like the grasshopper who was making eyes at his sister last summer but there is no music, only the sound of his heart going wild.
"I wanted to apologize," he tells her, looking up. At least she's not hiding again. "It was wrong of me to say that! Not that I don't think you're the prettiest firefly the Bayou has ever seen, because I do! But because we'd just met. I haven't even told you my name!"
He waits a beat. But she's still there, and she might be twinkling a bit stronger now. Oh, how Ray hopes.
He offers her a smile before he writes his name upon the sky..
"I'm Raymond, but all my friends call me Ray. You can call me that as well!" he bows low, and then he looks at her, his heart going thump-thump-thump in his chest. "And you, cher?"
She twinkles, but she doesn't tell him. Ray waits and waits, and then he finally understands.
"You're embarrassed!" he gasps in delight, but then he waves his hands in front of himself. "Oh, oh, I'm sorry! Don't worry, that's okay! Everyone says I speak enough for two, so now that's good now, oui? You don't have to talk if you don't want to."
And his lady hesitates a moment, but then she's twinkling again, and Ray knows he has fallen for good.
His brother gets married next, and then his older sister, and then his younger, and his cousin and his best friend and the best friend of his best friend as well, and then baby fireflies start coming through. His mama looks at him and she shakes her head.
"You are never gonna give me grandchildren," mama Raymond complains. "Why don't you get yourself a girl, Ray? Paulette's girl is very pretty."
"Mama, mama, I already have a girl," Raymond tells her, and then he's off to see her again.
"We've known each other for a while, oui?" Ray asks his beautiful lady one night, grinning at the sky. "Think you can tell me your name now, ma belle?"
There is silence but he laughs anyway; he knows his lady is shy as a daisy and prettier than one. She barely even speaks at all!
"That's okay!" he tells her. "You don't have to tell me, joli! I'll just guess! One twinkle for yes, two for no, oui?"
And she, oh, bless her heart! She twinkles just once. So Ray grins and starts trying to think of the prettiest names he has ever heard of. Mary and Elizabeth, Charlotte and Caroline, Beatrice, Adelle, Claudine, Marguerite, Madeleine, Sophie and Veronique and Angeline. But his pretty lady, she twinkles twice for each of them.
"You're a tough one, ma belle!" Ray tells her as she starts going away with the night. "But that's okay! I have patience! I'm sure I'll guess eventually!"
She's not Rochelle nor Adrienne, nor Louise or May or Janette. Ray thinks she might be laughing as he keeps wondering names, and he laughs with her, flying up into the night and it almost seems that way up high where she is she's flying with him. It's years and years and he talks with her about life in the Bayou, about the family, about his nieces and nephews and godchildren, and there are more weddings and some deaths and life goes on and on in the Bayou.
"Ma belle, I won't give up yet," he tells her quite seriously, but he can feel himself smiling already because he can't just get angry with her after all. "It's not Clarabelle nor Isabelle nor Marybelle. It's not Florence nor Jeanne nor Josephine, oui?"
He thinks and he ponders and his butt hums with him as he thinks. Suddenly, an inspiration, and he looks up, up into the sky where his lady is.
"Could it be... Evangeline?"
Ray waits. His lady twinkles once, and only once.
Raymond shoots into the sky, screaming his joy, whooping out loud. "Evangeline! Ma belle, that's the prettiest name I have ever heard!"
He can almost hear her laughing.
"Evangeline! Ca c'est bon! C'est magnifique!" Ray grins, feeling tears in his eyes even as he laughs with her. "Merci, mon cher, merci, merci."
He smiles at her and he sighs, so happy, so in love, so complete.
"I don't suppose you'd dance?" Ray asks her. There is silence and he sighs, because he knew the answer already but he's still smiling, but then there is a twinkle and he looks up. "Evangeline?"
And then there she is, twinkling over the water, the prettiest, brightest, most beautiful firefly over this side of the Bayou. Ray flies up and then down so that he can glide over the water, and Evangeline dances with him, her twinkling bright and pure, her laugh is almost there, and Ray knows he will love her all of his life.