I’ve decided to participate in a “blog battle” at https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/blogbattle-loss/ The subject for February is “Loss”, the story a 1000 words, give or take a few, and be posted by the end of the month. The creator, Rachael Ritchie, will use this blog post link to join this story with others or so I understand. I had to post the story (my story) so that is why you are seeing it here. It’s short and my might enjoy it. It’s of my favorite short story theme: encounter, love, loss, redemption and fulfillment.
The Moon, Anali and Hope
[short story by ~Sha’Tara~ ]
She had made a decision, a choice. She’d stopped watching the news one day, then she’d left the church. She walked out of her parents’ home some time after that and took the bus to a smaller town up into the valley. She rented a tiny apartment and found a job at the local library cleaning up and re-arranging the children’s section, and as general go-for.
Anali asked herself, was it all just an impulse? No. It was, she thought, her destiny, and destiny should be honored.
Destiny, then, brought her to meet Charlie. He swept the sidewalks and collected garbage for the town. A charity job, perhaps, but one that needed doing. Charlie was considered slow, and definitely abnormal as he thought everybody was a friend and never got angry or upset at anyone. Anali liked Charlie. They sat together on a bench by the library on warm sunny days, shaded by a rustling maple tree. On other days they met at the McDonalds for a coffee and muffin. They didn’t talk much, there was no need for what was developing between them required no words.
Anali wasn’t bright, and she knew it. She wasn’t what you’d call pretty and she knew that too. But she knew she was a human being, and that Charlie was a wonderful human being. She wasn’t unkind, but Charlie taught her to be more so, more aware of the world around them, and the world’s needs. Charlie stuttered, and his slowness of speech allowed Anali to keep up and understand him.
“I feel sadness,” he said to her, “about lost things, and hungry things, and things that have no real home. I guess I know what that feels like, and maybe that’s how it is, how you learn to feel things. I can’t fix the world. No one can do that, only God, and he’s angry at us so he’s not helping. So, if I want to help I have to be nicer to everyone, and everything. God will see that and he’ll think, that is a good thing. And he’ll come down and help us.”
Anali understood that perfectly.
Was it just the moonlight? It seemed to Anali that the moon had been shining every night of June forever, getting larger and larger in the night sky, then hanging out, pale and unwilling to leave the blue sky of morning. It hung like a pale balloon above the tall, old, dark green cottonwood trees bending over the river, casting shade where fish jumped after low-flying bugs.
That river was called Hope. She had no idea why they had called it that, or what the native peoples who had fished its banks had called her, but she thought, Hope was a good name. When I have my daughter, she thought, I am going to call her Hope, and I’m going to give birth to her on her banks, under the full moon. Anali was a dreamer, like Charlie.
She’d been sitting silently in the tall grass on the bank of the Hope river when she heard footsteps in the grass of the park above her, then the swishing of a body pushing itself through the tall grasses she was pretending to be hiding in. She rolled quietly on her back and looked into the blue sky, and the pale moon. Waiting. Waiting, and ready.
He cast his tall shadow over her prostrate form and looked down. Not at her, but in her. And she knew then that some things are written in the songs of the thrush; the call of the kingfisher; the whisper of the rising mid-day breeze in the willows, but mostly in the path of the moon. She shielded her eyes and watched him bend down to her, kneeling on the soft earth beside her body. He stretched himself beside her and she cradled him in her arms.
Their clothes came off, easily and naturally, without haste or shame and without a word they came together and made love by the Hope river. Anali thought she had reached a place of near perfection. It would take a while for it to complete itself, but Anali was very patient.
There was a bad accident in town. Anali didn’t read the papers and she didn’t have a TV but she heard people talk. She understood why Charlie wasn’t at the bench then, and why she never saw him again. Anali knew about loss, personal loss, and she thought, this too will be all right.
A year or so later, with glowing face and a child in her arms, Anali stood by the banks of the Hope river. She walked to the edge and holding her own Hope over the waters, let her see her own reflection. The baby went “oh, oh!” Across the narrow channel a thrush called. An otter slipped into the water followed by three playful young. Two young raccoons stared at her from the top of an old fallen tree trunk, curious, not scared.
From the pale moon high in the blue sky, Charlie looked down, tears of joy forming on his ghostly face, so Anali pictured it. She looked up and knew he was there waiting for her and someday they’d be together again. She smiled and cuddled their baby tighter – so he could feel its warmth through her. She felt a deep, peaceful happiness. She’d found her perfection and all was as it should be.