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Drawing Down the Moon

Through the window Carl watched his mother stand outside in her nightgown. Her bare feet pressed down upon the black grass beneath her as beads of sweat grew heavy enough to fall down the hollows of her cheeks. Despite the frigid night air, she continued to pull an invisible rope that only she could see. A rope that bound the moon, keeping it in Earth’s orbit. A rope that, by her account, if it were not wrapped around the moon, the celestial body would disappear from Earth’s orbit for all eternity.

She’d be a hero if it were true.

He so wanted it to be true.

“We can’t lose the moon!” she yelled. “We’ll die without the moon!”

Dad was there, just out of the frames created by the window’s wooden borders. Carl could hear him plead with her to come inside and take her medication. He tried over and over again to convince her, but over and over again, he’d fail.

“Why won’t you help me?” she questioned him, her thin arms straining against the imaginary pull. “Carl, you, me, we’ll all die once the moon flies away!”

There was a time when this was a game to Carl. She’d take her son outside, hand him the end of her imaginations, and they’d pull together. They were a team. Once the moon was safely secured, they’d fall in the grass, laughing at their hard fought victory. But, he was a child then. The older he became, the more frequent was her need to keep the moon within the Earth’s grasp, and the less Carl was interested in the fantasy. Whenever he refused to enable her, she’d scold him.

“Carl, please come and help mommy! Don’t you want to help mommy save the world, save us? Don’t you love me?”

The words hurt him in a way he didn’t quite understand when he was younger. Now, he understood the guilt she thrust upon him. The knowing didn’t stop the words from hurting though. The knowing only reminded him that even during those happy nights, she was using him as a tool to reinforce her delusions.

“I don’t need that shit, Dave! I needed you and Carl to help me save the world by drawing down the moon!”

Carl wanted to love her like he did as a child. She was his mother after all, and he wanted her to be like all of the other mothers he watched longingly, with a quiet desperation.

Why can’t she just act normal?

Why couldn’t she love me enough to stop being crazy?

Even as she walked into the house, her bare feet slapping against the smooth wooden floor boards, he questioned why she couldn’t be normal. As she disappeared into the once empty room that devolved into her office of telekinesis, Carl grew angry.

Carl began to question her love for him. Worse, he began to question his love for her. In that questioning, a sad, painful desire took root. Selfishly, secretly, he wanted his mother to die. He wanted her to no longer exist. The more she lived, the further her schizophrenia tarnished those joyful memories he held in his heart. Happy times of a son and a mother, where ignorance bore joyful fruit and madness was a simple game he was unaware of. But, her death, it would ensure that those happy memories would remain that way, protected by antiquity.

He longed for the ignorance of thinking that the bright-white celestial body, hanging in the sky, was nothing more than an opportunity for his mother to laugh with him in the black, night grass. But, that was his delusion, and he couldn't stop from wishing the moon and his mother didn’t exist at all.

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