I still remember her face as she drifted away. Tears tracing lines down her face, features twisted in despair.
I still remember her arms. Reaching out for me. Fingers outstretched.
I still remember her voice. Calling out to me. Saying she was sorry.
I still remember.
But she doesn’t.
I would like to say that I know, down to the day, how long she has been gone. But time is not the same anymore. Time not spent remembering her is a dull haze.
Time spent thinking about her is painful.
I tried to be happy. Tried to find someone else.
I often go camping in the mountains where I met her. She loved being here, in the trees, and heights and fresh air.
She would have loved tonight.
“You are so lucky,” she once said.
“I know,” I replied, wrapping my arms around her.
“No,” she giggled as I nuzzled the crook of her neck. “Not me. This planet. This sky. You live in a world that is art. Someone must have painted the sky with yellows and grays and blues. Someone who knew that the sky was wonderful and wanted to remind the world how beautiful it was.”
“Did you paint it?”
“I wish. I could never…”
“Why not? You appreciate it more than anyone. You remind every day how wonderful the world is.”
“I’m reminding myself.”
I laughed. “You’re the last person who would ever need reminding.”
I was wrong.
I didn’t believe her when she told me she was from the moon. Who would have?
Who would believe that there was a population on the moon? Neil Armstrong certainly didn’t mention any celestial beings when he made his great leap for mankind.
Granted, I could believe that she was a princess. She was beautiful and graceful and kind, and her voice sang melodies that were both haunting and mesmerizing.
I loved her.
I love her still.
Tonight would be special. Scientists called it a blood supermoon—not only was a lunar eclipse happening, but the moon would be larger in the sky, because it was closer to Earth in its orbit. We both loved stargazing, and we came up here because the mirror-like surface of the lake on the mountain reflected the night sky. Above and below us, only stars.
But there was also the moon. Reflected on the surface of the lake in a stripe instead of a disk.
“It’s like a road,” she murmured once.
“A road to where?”
She smiled wistfully. “A road to the stars.”
“Would you walk down that road?”
“A road to the stars? A path of moonlight?” She asked as if it were a stupid question. Of course she would want that. “No.”
She kissed me. “You wouldn’t be with me.”
“I’d obviously go with you.”
She hesitated, and then shook her head.
“That is the last thing I would want.”
The people of the moon are much like their home world. Natives of the moon are a cold and hard people. They lived for the purpose of existing.
They are capable of emotion, but they also believe emotion is a vain and useless thing. They had created ways to forget what it was to feel. It didn’t hurt, she had assured me.
But then, the point was that you couldn’t feel anything.
As night fell and the red moon rose into the sky, emptiness began to build up inside me. I didn’t know what I expected. Just because the moon was closer didn’t mean she was closer to me. That I could hold her. Make her remember.
This was a bad idea. The large moon taunted me from where it hung in the sky. Reminding me of where she had gone.
And then I heard it.
Her voice, singing.
My mind may have been playing tricks on me, but I didn’t care. I wanted it to be her. To say she came back. That her people had allowed her to come back. They realized they were wrong to take her away. That she remembered everything.
The singing grew louder, and I cried as the memories resurfaced. Her face. Her smile. The way she looked like the world had everything. The way she looked at me as if I were the world.
The way I knew she was the world.
If she was here, there was only one place where she would be.
I ran to the lake.
She had run away from her home, hoping to understand the blue marble in the sky that she had watched her entire life. She did eventually understand. But fleeing to Earth had consequences.
One was that she learned to love.
Another was that she would lose that love.
She would forget everything.
The red of the moon shone from the surface of the lake. A road of moonlight paved in red. A path to the stars, as large as it could ever be.
No one was there.
I was alone on a mountain, by a lake, missing her.
Her voice, which I had heard so clearly just moments before, gone.
Taking off my shoes and socks, I rolled up my pant legs before walking into the lake. The sand was soft beneath my feet, and I stood ankle deep in the reflection of the moon.
The road of moonlight to nowhere.
I continued to walk in the moon’s reflection, deeper and deeper. No singing, just the sound of water moving out of my way as I waded deeper and deeper. I was in up to my waist when a giggle interrupted the silence.
“I thought I told you I didn’t want you to go on the road to the stars.”
This story was inspired by both Sam’s prompt, “Mangata” the Swedish word for the road-like reflection of the moon in the water, and the Tale of Kaguya, a Japanese folktale about a princess from the moon who goes to live on Earth. Her foster parents set her up as a princess on Earth, living in riches, but in solitude. She becomes acquainted with an emperor, but rejects his advances, because she knows she must return to the moon, where she will forget everything. As she is spirited away, she gives the emperor a vial of the elixir of life, but he orders that it be burned on the tallest mountain with a letter he wrote to Kaguya, in hopes that the smoke would reach her.
My story is a modernization of this tale, where the princess returns.
About the author:
Leanna was destined to be a nerd since birth—she was named after Star Trek’s Deanna Troi after all. Since then, she’s become a nerdfighter, Ravenpuff, avid book reader, Young The Giant fan, and internet addict aspiring to be a writer/scientist. Find her on public transit reading a book and with headphones in her ears.
Leanna wrote the story inspired by this prompt:
The prompt was beautiful, and I think nobody but Leanna could’ve done it justice.
Maybe I just mean that retrospectively; in any case, I love the story.
This girl has done all the work for me: she’s written the story, written about the story so you know exactly how amazing it is, and she’s written about herself- what’s left for me to do?
Oh well, the usual stuff:
If you like the story, comment here or on Leanna’s blog telling her about it!
She’d love to know your feedback.
The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so stick around for the rest.
This is the third story of a part of a series of stories I’m going to post, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.
Here’s the previous story, you should check it out!
And here’s the very first one, if you’d like to read that!
I’ll post the next story on the 18th on January, and it’s amazing, so try not to miss it.
I’m sorry for posting this one a bit late, but yesterday evening after I heard about the sad demise of Alan Rickman I couldn’t function for a while. I really couldn’t bring myself to post the story, even though I pretty much just had to click the Publish button…
He will be missed.
I’ll be the one reading Harry Potter at 80 and answering the question “After all this time?” with an “Always”