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After nine months away, I’m excited to rejoin this wonderful writing group. I can’t say how much I’ve missed everyone. This weeks prompt: you have 500 words to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, which includes the phrase “to the moon.”

Glaring blue eyes under very bushy blonde, now silvering eyebrows, fix themselves on me.

“What?” I ask.

He’s mad all the time.

“No, really, what?”

He glares out the window, “You should be writing,” he says, flaring the ember from his cigarette, lighting the stubble on his checks, also silvering, granting him a slightly sinister look.

I swallow, looking into the Pure Kentucky on the rocks that I don’t need at 3:14 am, 2 months after turning 40.

“You need to be writing.”

My throat constricts. We’ve done this before. Take six months off; write the book, I’ll make it work. I did. He did. The book got written, Whispers to My Sister. No publication. Then it was semi-employment for 3 years, and I wrote still, but it was nearly the death of us. We can’t do it again. I can’t walk tall as a writer and feel small as a woman. I fight for balance.

“I will.”
“When?” He spits at me, searching with eyes like a summer afternoon storm, full of disappointment, both in self and in me. Tactile, it runs around amber pools the bourbon throws across the red dress I wore to work today, lit by 14th street.

“You need to be doing what you love. Writing, cooking, blogging…” Translation: It’s killing me that I can’t give you the life that you deserve. And I worry that too, might be the death of us.

“I have to work. I can’t be unemployed again. We can’t…” I shy away from this old hurt between us.

More Gandalf worthy glaring. He’s not wrong. I’m not wrong. We are in the same business. When you open a restaurant it’s 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once the bureaucratic bullshit is done, 16 hours, 7 days a week. Once the restaurant is up, running and making money, it’s 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. After 6 months and the restaurant is making money and you have a great assistant, it’s 12 hours a day, five days a week. And after that, it’s a regular workweek. If you get lucky. I’m not getting lucky, this place is closing. A year for nothing but a paycheck.

He stubs out his cigarette and goes to bed. I can’t join him.

It never feels right going to bed bathed in confusion and heartbreak.

Walking to our sitting room I note the moonlight sneaking through lavender curtains, lighting the green edges of plants and orange carpet. Admiring her work, I look to the moon for answers. Where is the balance between being captured, and the power of tides?

The cacophony of bourbon warms, dulls and burns away any answer that might have been found in that strange, seductive, quiet hour of the near tomorrow. The moments we believe, however briefly, in fate.