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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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New Moon (alternate title: There's a Bad Moon Rising)

(Editor's note:   If you're here from Write on Edge, thanks for coming!  You're welcome to read everything below, but the response to the prompt doesn't start until just under the photo of the moon (yes, that's the moon - I never claimed to be a good photographer), so skip ahead if you're pressed for time.  If you're a regular reader, thank YOU for coming, too!  You'll probably want to read this whole post, or else you'll wonder why I got so serious all of a sudden with this Moon business.)

Today's March Photo Challenge prompt is Moon.  It's rainy and overcast here today, so even though the baby was up at oh-dark-thirty and I had my camera at the ready, not one single moon was visible in the sky and willing to pose for a photograph.  However, not one to worry, I immediately remembered a terrible, barely recognizable photo I took of the moon five years ago, so I ferreted it out of my computer to dust off and share with you.  Why would you remember - and keep - such a horrid example of amateur photography for so long?   you ask.  Hang on, I'm getting there.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I tend to digress when I'm writing.  A lot.  Like right now, for instance. I'll get started on one topic, but as my train of thought goes barreling along, sometimes I get distracted by something shiny outside the window that sets me off on a tangent.  It happens when I'm talking, too, which results in lots of sentences that never get finished.  I hear it's quite annoying.

Well, today I realized I do the same thing with my computer use - I started off editing the Moon picture, then stopped to read some tweets, more editing, then, "Have I checked my email today?" followed by more editing.  Yes, I'm aware that I might need to start medicating if I hope to revive the useless lump that was once my attention span.  But anyway, my point is that one of the places I went as my synapses continued to misfire all over the Innerwebs was Write on Edge, a writer's workshop.  Their writing prompt today is to take inspiration from the warning Dante envisioned on the gates of hell, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Although the memory that's brain-stapled to my Moon photo is a pleasant one (unlike the concept of hopelessness, or the mental image of a brain staple), this writing prompt actually perfectly fit the story behind the picture.  The only problem is the 500 word limit - if there's one thing I'm worse at than keeping my digression-loving words On Task, it's using fewer than eleventy thousand of them, as evidenced by the fact that I've probably already used 500 words and I haven't even started the story yet.  Sigh.  Well, here it is anyway (and please forgive me, Write on Edge, if I'm stomping all over your rules with my ridiculously long intro).


I was tipsy, as I so often was in those days, back when I was still unhappy and unaware of the secret I held.

We were standing on the back porch, talking in voices too loud for the hour, when I noticed the moon peeking at us girlishly from the edge of the sky.  Flashing her brightest full-figured smile, she wasn't shy about her demands for attention.  Yet she couldn't be called too  brazen; in fact, her flirtations could even have been accidental as she wove between the treetops and the clouds, demurely baring only a pearled shoulder here or the ivory curve of her cheek there, scarcely seeming to notice us.  Maybe on some level I recognized myself in her behavior, so I stumbled drunkenly sauntered down a gentle slope, deep into the relative darkness of the yard, to ask her if she knew what we were up to.

As soon as he arrived by my side I realized I'd wanted him to follow me, though I was still too blind to know why.  We didn't speak, we just stood together, two friends watching the moon alternately hide her face and wink at us knowingly.

After a few minutes I tilted my head to take a picture, which was just enough movement to throw me off balance.  To this day I can't say for sure if I did it on purpose, or if it was just a natural response to the screwdrivers I'd consumed.  In any case, when I leaned into him to steady myself, he didn't pull away.

He didn't pull away.

He leaned toward me, and I was suddenly very aware of every cotton fiber in his sleeve that was touching my arm, every molecule of air that was normally between us but that now, very tangibly, was not.

Shut up,  I told my pulse, a bit surprised by its reaction.  This means nothing.

Then something cracked, like the brittle sheen of ice over moving water, and the first lucid wave of truth washed up briefly - the quickest glimpse at how I really felt, the reflection of a face that believed in something better, believed it was worth the risk.  Worth the pain.  If only...

But I wasn't ready just yet to look those things in the eye.  My fleeting insight receded back into the cool, shadowy corners of the grassy lawn, blurred, became a dream.  I righted myself, pocketed the camera.

Shut up,  I told my pulse again, and we turned to face the silhouettes waiting for us at the top of the hill.


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18 comments:

  1. you're darn right it was me. still is. that was beautiful, baby.

    i'm still loony for you (moon pun intended).

    <3 <3 <3

    those are either a bunch of "less than three" symbols, or hearts. :)

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  2. or sideways two scoop cones. or a different type of moon (cuz they look like butts).

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  3. This is good writing! I mean, all your humorous stuff is good writing too, but this is like good serious writing, which has me sitting up a little straighter in my seat.

    I'm beginning to suspect that you don't really have any kids, because you are prolific AND good and where are getting the energy? *said with just a twinge of envy*

    Don't stop writing.

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  4. *blush* Thank you, TruckingT, that means a lot to me! I'll admit to some nervousness about clicking "publish" on that one; it's been a long time since I wrote anything remotely serious, at least for public viewing, and I'd have to say I was still hiding behind humor to some degree. But it makes me feel heaps better to read your comment. :) Before you know it, this place is gonna be lousy with sappy poetry, just you wait!

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  5. I loved your intro as much as the post. I was very engaged with both. So did you marry the guy in the story? You kept the moon photo....

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  6. I agree with everything Tumbleweed said. While I love your wit, your "serious" post was a nice and very articulate change of pace. You got that thang, girl!

    And the word limits? Pretty much one of the main reasons I never to WOE prompts. I know I'm annoyingly wordy, but whatever...see this comment for proof. ;)

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  7. I love reading a falling-in-love moment, and I know that moment of clarity and not being really ready to see it, so this touched a chord.

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  8. Gina - Yup, happily ever after (well, after a lot of hoop-jumping, to say the least, which was worth it). I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

    Abby, thank you so much for saying so - that means a lot coming from you! I used to write like this more, but it's hard for me to get in that mental space sometimes, so I'm a little rusty.
    Once upon a time I thought my complete lack of concision was something I should work on... And I guess I still do, but now I've pretty much given up (Sorry, Readers!).

    Cameron, I'm so glad it spoke to you in some way. My husband and I spent 12 years not being ready to see it, but once we did - wow. I didn't think things like that were possible; it fundamentally changed me as a person.

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  9. What a lovely moment. I could feel the quickening of your heart.

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  10. I'm here from Write on Edge :) and didn't mind the intro!

    And I'm so interested in the story behind why you were so nervous (reluctant?) to admit your feelings. The electricity between you is palpable, and I love that you can so clearly recall that moment when you recognized but couldn't yet acknowledge your feelings.

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  11. Thank you, Natalie! I'm glad that came across. Thanks for your comment!

    Angela, it's good to hear the intro wasn't too far out of bounds foe WoE. :) My husband and I were friends for many years, and were always in other relationships. It seemed SO impossible that he'd have feelings for me that I never let myself think about it - it was too painful to love him and never be with him.
    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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  12. I can always count on a chuckle or even a downright giggle when I visit your blog.

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  13. Vanessa, thanks for saying so - I'm glad you keep coming by! :)

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  14. Robyn, this was just lovely! Early on, this part made me smile: "...unlike the concept of hopelessness, or the mental image of a brain staple..."

    And your story just kept getting better from there. :)

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  15. Super Earthling - thanks so much, I appreciate that! (The image of a brain staple sort of slipped out before I really thought about it.) :)

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