🏞 Hello, Moon
A letter, and Once Upon A Blossoming Moon
Last week, I read in an online article that the Moon is drifting away from the Earth at the approximate rate of 3.8 cms/day. I immediately felt bereft, as though I would still be standing here, at my open window, searching the empty sky, while the moon wandered alone somewhere far away. So, I decided to write a letter. This is part 1.
Hello, Moon. I didn’t know this was happening, that you were leaving even as you pretended to stay. Why am I the last to know? Will it be home, I wonder, if you're not here? I'm used to your short wanderings. I thought that meant something. After all, you always came back. Will it be home if you are never here? I think of all the people who will only know you, Moon, by the destruction your leaving wrought. And not by the transient beauty of a moonless night. They won't know of your extravagant promises, (Sleep, my love, I'll keep the Earth spinning for you until you wake, you once whispered to me in the dead of night), and how it feels to bask in your light by the seaside. Is it me you'll miss or.. I hear you speak, but I’m not ready to hear the rest, and I close the window.
The moon has been on my mind because it plays an important role in my first novel, the one that’s taken me five years to write. The book is tentatively titled Once Upon A Blossoming Moon. It’s a coming of age, fantasy novel featuring a middle-aged woman who inherits a mysterious painting that has special powers. I am sharing a small teaser section below, and I hope it will intrigue you enough that you will want to read the book when I start serializing it here on Substack later this month. (I’m still figuring out whether it needs a new, separate fiction section or a new, separate Substack.)
JAN 5th, 2019
The house was quiet and settled like a blanket around her shoulders. Maya was alone, nursing her afternoon cup of ginger chai and listening to the silence created by her absent family. She had dropped Ajay at the airport earlier in the day, and with end-of-holiday traffic, they had time only for the briefest of goodbyes. She closed her eyes against the empty room, not wanting to think about how Ajay strode towards the sliding doors, only to suddenly turn around and walk back quickly before she could pull out to join the steady stream of cars leaving the airport. He tapped on the window urgently, motioning for her to open it.
“We’ll figure it out, Maya.” He sounded insistent.
“We’ll figure us out.” He paused. “Okay?”
She stared back at him, noting the new lines around his eyes. He was waiting for an answer, but a hard point inside her wouldn’t let her agree. Cars drove by, and someone honked behind her. It was hard to untangle the knots in their relationship when it wasn’t clear how they had gotten there, just the repetitive math of an unhappy Ajay and a shrinking, shapeshifting Maya. She could see he was upset by her refusal to answer, but she couldn't, wouldn't, speak. He turned and walked away then, his pace brisk, and Maya, confused by her conflicting emotions, cried all the way home. Sam had already driven back to Berkeley in the morning, refusing Maya’s request to stay the weekend. Anu had promised to visit tomorrow, but for now, Maya was alone, sitting at the kitchen table. It might’ve been the warmth of the tea she’d gulped down, the quiet of the house, or the loneliness of the air shifting around her, but she dozed where she sat, her head slowly lowering down on her arms on the table. She should go up to bed, but she couldn’t move. It was comforting to sit at the old table where the kids had done their homework and squabbled over whose turn it was to take out the trash, and even though they felt far away and out of reach, she imagined the day they would all come back. She was getting unnecessarily maudlin, Maya told herself firmly, and she was going to shake herself out of it, probably order takeout dinner. One minute, Maya was telling herself it was time to get up, and the next, she was walking on a well-trodden grassy path in a forest. Tree after tree loomed around her, their canopy almost obscuring the sky and making Maya feel like a small genie trapped in a dark green bottle. Someone was singing, the voice calling seductively to Maya, and she moved towards it. The sound of rushing water was closer now, and she veered off the path, following the ground as it sloped downwards. She stopped well back from the edge, clutching at a low tree branch for safety, and watched as the river moved forward compulsively. The song was louder, coming from the other side of the water, where mist partially obscured the trees. Someone was there, though she couldn't see them. She felt their invisible presence and their malevolent gaze even as their song coaxed her to cross the water. She didn’t want to go, but her grip on the tree loosened, and Maya stepped towards the water. Two things happened at once- fingers curled around her wrist and pulled her sharply back from the sloping edge even as the cuckoo in the kitchen clock cuckooed four times and went back in, the slam of its door waking Maya. She’d been drooling in her sleep, and she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her t-shirt.
Thank you for reading! It’s your turn:
I would love to hear what you think about the moon leaving. If you have a letter/poem/ thoughts, please share.
Thoughts/feeback on the Once Upon A Blossoming Moon teaser
Do you read serialized fiction online? Why, or why not?
PS. I’ve decided to stick to publishing on Sunday mornings.
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