Waxing, Waning; A Woman’s Phases

“Blood moon,” Margaret observed from in front of the bedroom window. She pointed her slim finger at it, nail unpolished and square. “Do you see it, David?”

Her husband was taking his shoes off, bending at the waist as he sat on the made bed. He turned towards her, dark hair catching the light as he moved, glancing out the window. The moon hung just in the corner, partly hidden by the house; it was full and trailing red, like blood washed down the sink, turning orange as it thinned out and disappeared. David hummed a confirmation.

“It means trouble is coming,” she said.

“You don’t really believe that,” David responded.

“Maybe not,” she said quietly, more to herself than him. “I put Josh down a while ago. If you say goodnight, try not to wake him. It feels like it’s been ages since he slept for more than an hour at a time.”

“I’ll see him in the morning then,” he responded.

Margaret moved to the dark wood vanity, gazing into the mirror. She watched her reflection as she took off her rings one by one, then her watch, her necklace. She contemplated the makeup on her face while David unbuttoned his white dress shirt; wondered if she had the energy to wash it off – wondered where she’d even found the energy to put it on. She took her blonde hair down from the bun she had put it in, let it fall like a wheat field cut down, gathered up in someone’s arms.

“Tell me more about the moon,” David said, dry humor in his voice, laying down on the bed behind her.

“You’re making fun of me,” she said disapprovingly, feeling hurt. Her mouth puckered, drawing lines around it that she immediately smoothed by letting the expression slip away, like a mask that hadn’t amused her enough for purchase.

“No, Margaret,” he responded. “I just like to hear you talk.”

“Well, alright then,” she conceded. “Halo around the moon means bad weather.”

“Don’t angels have halos?”

“Yes,” she said. “What do you mean?”

“If angels have them, isn’t it strange it would indicate something bad?” David asked her as she combed her hair.

“Lucifer was an angel,” she said softly. “The first time you see a crescent moon during the month, you’re supposed to take all the spare change out of your one pocket and put it in the other.”


“Ensures good luck for the month to come,” she bit her lip and noticed how the pink stained her front teeth. Margaret wiped it away with her finger. “I forgot about that one. Maybe next month.”

“Well, thanks a lot,” he said with a smirk. “I’m ready to sleep. Tell me one more then come to bed – you know I hate sleeping alone.”

“Farmers used to say you would get juicier meat from a slaughter if the moon was waxing,” she said, walking over to his discarded shirt and picked it up.

“You know the strangest things. It never ceases to amaze me what sticks in that head of yours,” he laughed. “What was the moon like when we married? Do you remember?”

“No,” Margaret lied quietly. “Guess that one got by me.”

She held his shirt in her hands above the wicker laundry basket. The lipstick that clung to his collar was the ultimate cliche she always ignored; red and full, like the blood moon she could never wake up from. He was stirring trouble in her bones, begging to be let go, but she would only turn away from him in her sleep. Born under a full moon meant a lucky life – her son sleeping, still so small – such a lucky life was this; the home she made sure they bought when the moon was waning, because she never wanted to go hungry; and David, the man she saw when she looked up and made him promise he was true – blood filling his cheeks, spreading down, disappearing.

If she could swallow one lie, she could swallow them all.


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