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about this writer:
Finnian Burnett is a college instructor, a doctoral student, and a flash fiction addict. They have published in the Bath Flash Fiction Award Anthology, Reflex Press, Ekphrastic Review, and more. Finn lives in British Columbia with their wife and Lord Gordo, the cat. They can be found at www.finnburnett.com
A Moon More Beautiful
British Columbia, Canada
Chloe skids the jeep to the side of the road and stops at the edge of a field, near a wood fence. Without streetlights or the welcoming beacons from suburban front porches, the moon is the brightest light. It hangs, low and full, ripe with possibilities like us before we moved in together. Us before I learned she doesn’t speak during meals and doesn’t want to hear my voice, either. Us before she discovered I snore and cough in my sleep. Us before you flirt too much and, but I did the dishes yesterday.
Us before whose dirty socks are on the floor and who was the last one to clean the kitty litter?
We step out of the jeep and holding hands, walk to the fence. I kick a rock and stumble, flailing for a moment for my next step. She steadies me automatically, her grip firm and sure in my hand. Even under the full moon, the fields are dark and long shadows sway with the trees. A chill in the wind sends goosebumps up my arms and I pull my coat tighter.
I wonder if she’s brought me out here to kill me, or if maybe she plans to get me onto the fence and sprint for the jeep, leaving me out here with the coyotes. She’s thinner than I am, sportier. She could make it to the jeep before I managed to get one leg back over the fence.
At home, she’ll drink a beer, grateful that she’ll never again toss and turn to the sound of my snoring and coughing. She’ll eat a meal, every meal, in peace and silence. Or maybe she’ll stare out the window at the full moon, remembering the softness of my hands or the time we stripped on a beach in Michigan and ran, laughing and screaming, into the lake in November.
Her hands are strong as she helps me climb to the top of the fence. Strong like they were at my waist the first time we danced and steady as they were when she first brushed a piece of hair from my face. I can’t see her face in the darkness on the fence and I don’t know if she’s thinking about the moon, or about me. Maybe she’s thinking about the last time I said I love you or maybe she’s wondering if she loves my possibilities more than she loves me.
“Sitting here almost makes you forget everything else,” she says, giving my hand a squeeze.
Everything else is the fight we had in the jeep on the way home from the party and she’s right. The moon is so beautiful, it almost makes me forget how tightly her hands gripped the steering wheel, how her lips pressed together in anger when I said I was tired of her policing my conversations with people. “Flirtations, you mean,” she had said in a dark voice. “Your flirtations with people.”
And how in the silence after, I’d stared out the window and convinced myself to leave. To just pack up when we got home and walk out. How I’d finally come to believe that I’d be better off alone than with her until she screeched off the road in the middle of nowhere to bring me to this fence and stare at this beautiful moon and now, sitting here holding her hand, it seems like our love has been filled with more moments like this and fewer moments like that.
“The moon is beautiful tonight,” she says.
We perch there, holding hands, staring at the moon. And the moon is beautiful and full of possibilities, even when we are not.