The moon dips in and out of my vision, a glistening crescent illuminated against the dark canvas that is night. Silver moonlight bathes me in a strange glow, its almost ethereal. I shiver as the winter wind nips me playfully, its a blessing and a curse. The winter holds dark memories, it was when my mother passed that she entered the arms of the moon god and left us, me her moon child behind. We were once so young and now I feel the ravages of time like my mother did all those years ago when she died. My skin is mottled like wizened apples, my frame frail, my vision no longer as clear as it once was. But still years later I come here, the path beyond the valley, the one place where I can feel the spirit of my mother beside me. She used to take me here as a child and tell me stories about the Moon God, he was a war lord but a beautiful one at that.
He was someone to fear but someone you could rely on when you needed protection. He awoke at night and slumbered during the day, he was flawed and made sure you knew it. This was no cherubic figure of religious reverence but a man with character who made mistakes but tried his best by his people. I used to wonder how my mother knew so much about a figure who I thought so clearly did not exist but I guess I was wrong. After my mother died I spotted a figure in the shallows of her grave; as we buried her stone cold body and threw cold masses of mud into the burial pit there was a crackling of energy in the air. I looked up and there he was, piercing eyes and statuesque height, a god before men wiping away a silent tear. It was true, they were lovers and this jilted lover had come back to reclaim the woman who he had lost when she was still living.
He was invisible to all but me and as he beckoned me with one ghostly finger I followed, aware that the other guests were too busy sniffling to notice. He placed a trinket in my trembling fingers, something he called a ‘moonlight necklace’ to revere the woman he called Moon Goddess- my mother. Now that she is gone this necklace belongs to you, never let go for it holds a thousand memories caught in the imprint of time. The scent of your mothers hair when she bathed in the moon river, the solitude of the moon uniting us as one, the grief I felt when she left me. But why would she leave, she never stopped speaking about you’ I asked hesitantly. I carried on, ‘I think she was in love with you her whole life’ gauging his reaction. He sighed and clenched my trinket ‘because she had to, we could never be together in this lifetime nor any other’. I didn’t understand, what was stopping soulmates from being together? I never met my father but the more I heard the more I believed that the Moon God was the one who planted my origins on earth. The Moon God’s eyes seemed to change colour, glistening with unwanted tears ‘ you would have died if we stayed together, your very existence was special in itself’. He continued ‘ after all who do you think you got your powers from, did you ever wonder how you held such special affinity to the moon?. It was true, since I could remember I heard things that others remained deaf too, felt at peace when the moon was there with me.
But there was one question on my lips; why would I die if I had two parents who loved me? He grimaced ‘ for centuries the sun and the moon have been at war, we fought like comrades at first but that brotherly bond turned into hate. Soon we were knee deep in guts and blood, killing each others people like animals protecting their kingdoms. Villages were pillaged and fires were set, there had not been a fiercer war than ours. Then came the settlement, he told me that this war would only end if I set the woman that I loved aside and did not acknowledge the child that we had together to keep the realm at peace. And if I broke my word my daughter-you- would die alone and afraid. It all made sense now, I thought to myself, why my dearly departed mother was so intent on sharing this man’s story with me, because he was as much a part of my life as she was, if not more so. But it still didn’t explain why he was talking to me now, would I die because of it. As if reading my thoughts he took my shivering hands in his and spoke ‘ Except of course there was one loophole in this clause, if the woman who birthed my child died, I could speak to my daughter once in her lifetime but only once. This will be our only meeting and when the sun comes back up, I must depart into my moon kingdom once more. Just know this, when the death giver comes and claims your soul, you will be here with me watching over all Earth’s children’.
We stayed side by side all night long and when the sun rose I was jolted back to the present, here with my withered hands clasped around the moonlight necklace. My time on this earth was coming to a close and I could feel the throes of death wrap its arms around me. But I was not afraid, I knew that my father, the Moon God would be waiting for me and all the ailments of old age would be washed away in his own moon river. Until we meet again,
The Moon Child