Brett had fallen in love with a lamp.
You see, when every moth finishes metamorphosis, they become attracted to a lamp. Many moths could become attracted to a single lamp, a single fiery passionate lightsource, forever yearning for its burning hot embrace. But every single one knew what would become of them if they flew too close—
But, back to the story. You see, Brett had found a lamp outside a luthier’s workshop. Or at least he thought it was one, he couldn’t see very well. It was a street-lamp, affixed to the corner of a less-trodden street, tall and lonely and slightly crooked. Not many moths ventured to this area of town, mostly because Brett’s eyesight was really so bad he’d actually just gotten lost. There were no flowers here, no honey-water, not even humans walking by to drop a crumb or two.
But the lamp. Oh the lamp. Perhaps it was the echoes of music carried long and far from the workshop down the street that had attracted Brett to it. The lamp creaked and swayed in the wind, a grand symphony to his ears. Oh, it was such a beautiful lamp. He flew closer, and closer, and squeaked, “What’s your name? I’m Brett. I’m a moth. Acosmeryx formosana, to be exact.”
“Brett?” The lamp repeated, shyly. His light cast a soft glow around Brett, and oh, how the moth wanted to crash into the sun. “Sorry I can’t see you very well, hey. I’m Eddy.”
“I’ve… I’ve never seen a moth around here before,” Eddy said. He seemed to hang his head a little in embarrassment, or perhaps shame. The light flickered. He looked so despondent Brett had a strange urge to hug him, but alas he only had tiny mottled-brown moth wings that were becoming somewhat tired with each passing moment. “You’re the first one I’ve seen. That I’ve spoken to. Where are you from?”
“From a flower patch up north,” Brett said. And then boldly, “Hey, can I land on you for a bit? I’m starting to get a little tired… there’s no bubble tea around here.”
“Oh! Oh, of course… be careful though, it’s still very warm.”
The wrought-iron flourishes decorating the back of the lamp were warm, though not horribly so. Brett perched atop a metal flower and heaved a sigh of relief. “You feel really nice. Solid.”
“I…I do?” Eddy said, perking up a little. His light grew brighter then, flooding the street with a golden glow. “You’re…I can’t really feel you, but you’re really nice. Are all moths like you?”
“Me? Nah, I dunno.” Brett climbed a little closer to the light, but the metal was getting a bit too hot for his little feet. The wind came bellowing again, and Eddy hummed as he swayed. It sounded like the beginning notes of Clair de Lune, unless Brett was now hallucinating from lack of food.
“Hey, thanks for letting me rest. I gotta go find some food now but…”
“Will I see you again?”
“Yeah, sure,” Brett said, trying to appear unaffected. But he had to think of a better way to confess his love, preferably when he had some bubble tea down his proboscis. “I hate my life, but I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
And he went back again, and again, and again. Bringing back tales of other moths, bubble tea places he approved of—he tried bringing bubble tea to Eddy once, but his little feet could barely carry a few droplets before giving up—and music festivals and street musicians he flitted around and listened to with great interest. Eddy told him stories about the few people who came down the street sometimes, children who needed their violins tuned, teachers buying recorders for their students, the workshop door that when opened emitted music that made him dream of faraway places.
They had so much in common, moth and lamp. They loved sweet things, and they loved music so, even as Brett asserted Tchaikovsky was the greatest of them all and Eddy preferred the lyrical melancholy of the Impressionists. They loved seeing each other in the wind or rain or snow, and they talked for hours on end from dusk until dawn.
Eddy provided shelter for Brett and annoyed him with his perfect pitch (who knew lamps could have perfect pitch?), and Brett kept him shining bright with his jokes, though he was now too afraid to burst forth with his planned confession. What if Eddy did not feel the same way? He had never felt this way before, having been attracted to other lamps before. But other lamps were not like Eddy, who in his lonesome beauty and shy gestures just connected to Brett’s tiny but prodigious moth brain on a spiritual level.
In time Eddy’s light became so great that children started being less afraid of walking down the usually-dark path. The warmth of the street brought laughter back bouncing off the brick walls and pavement, and with it came shops and cars and flowers and activity. Other moths came too, attracted by the other lights being put up, but Eddy only ever gave his full attention to Brett. That warmed him inside, truely.
But alas, happiness was not to be long-lasting. Brett knew he was dying. Moths had about four months to live as mature adults, give or take, because nature was simply terrible like that. It did not matter if they were common non-sentient moths or moths who could speak to and fall in terrible, agonizing love with their lamp best friends; they were all living on borrowed time.
Brett was the first and only moth Eddy had ever known, and so there was no way he could know about his lifespan. Brett knew other lamps, older lamps who had withstood the test of time, decades-old lamps who told stores of how they had seen generations of moths wither away from age or die in their fiery embraces. Those stories frightened him. He had but one life to live after all, and whether it would end in flames or upon cold concrete he wanted to make the most of it.
And so he flitted down to Eddy one cloudy day, mostly blind by now, navigating only by the sound of music and the urging of his tiny little moth heart. He crawled atop the wrought-iron flower on Eddy’s head, feeling its familiar roughness against his little feet. Brett was tired, so tired, but he had to try, oh—
“Eddy,” he rasped, “Eddy, I have to tell you something…”
“Brett!” Eddy cried out, alarmed. “Your voice is modulating by half a pitch, what’s wrong?”
“Eddy, please shut up and listen to me…” Brett said, reconsidering everything for a fraction of a second. “Eddy…I have to tell you, I’m dying. Don’t be alarmed, though, this is kind of a regular thing for moths.”
“Brett…Brett, you idiot! Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?” Eddy said, after a moment, his voice shaking. The light flickered uneasily, and his voice cracked. “Brett… I-I can’t deal with this.”
“I understand,” Brett said quietly, flapping his wings against Eddy for a few moments. “I didn’t want to see you sad…”
“But I am sad now!” Eddy cried. “What will I do without you? You’re my best friend, this is so unfair… you can’t die so soon, Brett! You have… you have so much to live for…”
“I told you, it’s nature.”
“Fuck nature!” Eddy shouted. The children playing on the street screamed and ran away. It seemed almost as if the lights were about to shatter, and Brett— Brett could only hang on as Eddy cried out in despair. “Brett… I love you!”
“What?” Brett said, incredulously. He could not believe his tiny, all-hearing moth ears. “You… you what?”
“I love you, even if you prank me with cockroaches sometimes!" A rumble of thunder tore through the skies; it would rain soon, and with it an outpouring of tears very suitable as the setting for an anguished confession. "You listen to me ramble, you have such interesting insights on music, you… you’re my everything, Brett! I love hearing the beating of your tiny moth wings! You make me so happy to exist… I did not know what any of that felt like before I met you. To feel loved..."
"But maybe you don't see it this way, I… I am so sorry if…"
"No, you idiot!" Brett responded, desperately holding on as raindrops started splashing all around him. “Eddy… I should have told you sooner. Your perfect pitch is so annoying but I… I also love you! I’ve loved you ever since I saw you for the first time on this horrible street! I thought there was nothing here for me! But you…”
“I wanted to see you shine so badly,” Brett choked out. His tiny tracheae could barely hold on for much longer, but he had to do it for Eddy. His lamp, the light of his brief but eventful life. “You looked so… depressed, at first. But… you were so lovely, and I heard the music…”
“How can I not be depressed if I’m all alone on this street!” Eddy said. “You… you made me feel not so alone anymore, Brett. Please… please, don’t leave me.”
“Oh, curses, I’m such a fool,” Brett muttered as he laid down against Eddy. He was so warm, so warm. “I should have— we really— we really blew this, didn’t we, ah…”
“But I’m glad… I’m really happy to know that, Eddy… please… live life to the fullest without me…” and then he took in a last gasping breath and died.
“No!” Eddy cried in despair as the storm broke, the outpour drowning the street in a veritable curtain of rain. He sobbed beneath the solemn darkened sky, a singular point of brightness in the dark, the light flowing down his creaking metal body like tears. Brett’s lifeless body just lay there, pelted by rain, and Eddy could not do anything.
He could not hold anything in his nonexistent hands, not his lost love, not anything…
Suddenly the skies opened up and a child’s voice called out from above as the rain cleared away. “Why are you crying, mister lamp?”
“Who? Who’s talking to me?” Eddy snapped, frightened. Usually Brett would be the one calming him down during scary moments, but the mere thought of him not bing here anymore only sent Eddy spiraling further. “I just lost him! My best friend! My one true love…”
“I see,” said the voice. “I see now… yes, you were the bestest of friends, indeed.”
“I can’t live like this any longer…”
“Do you want to see him again, mister lamp?”
“What? What do you mean? He’s dead!” Eddy cried out, shaking so angrily the glass cracked a little. “Don’t say things like that, it’s super fucked up, dude!”
“Oh no, you misunderstand me,” the voice continued, soothing. “You see, I am Ling Ling—”
“Ling Ling?” Eddy gasped. “I can’t believe I cursed out the great Ling Ling… I’m so sorry, I didn’t know…”
“No, it’s fine,” Ling Ling said. “I’m an immortal 12-year-old, so I’ve heard the word fuck quite a few times. Anyway, your love for music and for each other has moved my immortal 12-year-old soul, even if you are just a moth and a lamp. So I guess I’ll help you out a bit. You better practice a lot for this, though!”
“What? What do you mean—”
Without warning, a warm golden light surrounded both of them, flooding the street. Someone was singing. Angels, maybe. The humans who had all been frightened away by the storm and the despondent rattling of a sentient lamppost poked their head out from behind the streetcorners. Eddy’s body felt light, and the breeze sang as it passed him by, through the wrought-metal grooves, through the nails holding him in place. All around him was music, Handel's Messiah was playing, and he felt— he felt so sleepy, and at peace—
And he heard, somewhere in the distance, a familiar voice crying out his name…
“—y! Eddy! We’re gonna be late!”
“Dude, I just had the weirdest dream…” Eddy yawned, rubbing his eyes as he sat up on the couch. Brett was standing at the door already, watching as Eddy scrabbled around for his violin case. “It was like—”
“Just tell me on the car, dude. Wei-ting’s called me twice already, she said everyone’s already at the rehearsal.”
“Fuck. Okay, okay, but like…” Brett held the door open for Eddy as he scrambled outside into the sunlight. Eddy grinned and gave Brett a quick peck on the cheek, earning him another fond but exasperated eye-roll. “I just had this idea… what if we add this part to the show like… a lamp! I think that’s what…”
“Wait, what? Which part?”
“The beginning of the Mozart part? The one you said needed a little more oomph?”
“I did say that…yeah, we can look that over. But why a lamp?”
“Dunno man, it just came to me. But Brett, hear me out…”
Their voices disappeared around the corner as they hurried away to chase after a taxi. It was a sunny day in Taipei. Life was good.