Lying in bed she faced the open window, thankful for the cool breeze on that muggy August night. She watched the tree branches sway rhythmically and she imagined it was her dancing in his arms among the moonlight. There was something about the moon that always made her think of him. Perhaps it was the way his brown eyes showed specks of green in it’s light or that their first kiss took place in his pickup truck outside her parent’s home under the brightest full moon she had ever seen. She shivered as a rush of memories flooded her mind. That same night he had promised her the moon after she had mentioned how beautiful it was. “Anna, I promise you I will find a way to lasso the moon and catch all of the stars and give them to you,” he said as he tucked her red hair behind her ear and kissed her. She smiled remembering his voice but also at how smooth his game was.
It’s been eight months since she last heard from him and she still gets butterflies when she thinks about that kiss. From day one the letters came daily. She remembers the first day the mailbox was empty, her stomach was in knots as she sat at the dinner table with her family just staring at her plate. Her father could see the worry written all over her face. Out of all four of his children he and Anna has the closest relationship. She was the only one who would beg to tag along with him as he worked their family’s corner store in town. She would help with small tasks and he would pay her with a king size chocolate bar every Friday. “Anna, I know you are worried,” he said “but nothing good comes from imagining scenarios. Our minds can take us in dark places and the truth is the letter could have gotten lost in the mail or maybe he is traveling at the moment. I’m sure you will get one in the next few days.”
The letters never did resume.
There were many speculations about his disappearance, none of which made sense to Anna or his mother. He had promised her the moon and the stars and he was a man of his word.
She flipped her pillow over and laid her cheek against the cool cotton. She knows she should just move on, but there is just something about the moonlight that won’t let her forget him.
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She ran out of the house fast and quietly. As soon as her feet hit the dirt path that led to the garden she drew in a deep inhale. Had she been holding her breath this whole time? She walked out towards the garden hoping to escape the suffocating tension in the house behind her. They were at it again. Each fight was worse than the last and she decided to sneak out before she was drug into this one as well.
Stepping through the old wood gate at the entrance of the garden her ice blue eyes stared at the the sunflowers ahead. Her favorite flower. She cocked her head to the side with curiosity as she walked closer. The flowers appeared to be facing a new direction this afternoon. She turned to face the same direction they were, as if to try and see what they were looking at. She squinted and held her hand up to her forehead to shield the sun’s glare. She could feel her porcelain cheeks turning pink from the heat as if the sun was kissing her with comfort. She welcomed any kind of comfort at this moment.
She always thought it was a myth that sunflowers “chase the sun,” but today she learned that it was in fact true. She can’t blame them. Why wouldn’t they chase the thing that gives them life? Shouldn’t she also be chasing after what gives her life instead of being stuck in a place that is slowly killing her? She sat on the stone wall that outlined the garden and kicked her sandals off one by one. What gives us life? She thought. Sure we need food, water, and shelter, but surely there is something more that I need to be searching for. A slight cool breeze picked up unexpectedly, but felt pleasant in the sticky heat. As she brushed her sandy blonde hair away from her eyes something on the wall ahead caught her attention. Was that writing on the wall? All of these years in this garden, sixteen to be exact, and she never noticed writing on the wall.
She got up and walked over to the opposite side of the garden to take a look. There were initials carved into the stone, EMJ, her grandfather. Below was a quote that read:
“Just as the beautiful petaled heads
Chase the sun’s golden light
May we always be in search
For the Son’s glorious light.”
She felt something she has never felt before as her arms prickled with goosebumps. Who was he talking about?
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