You wake up around midnight and through your closed eyelids you can already sense the brightness of the moon: someone forgot to close the curtains. A week ago was the last supermoon of the year but, for reasons scientists cannot explain, the moon forgot to wane. Each night it grows heavier with sunlight, its craters pulled taut under the strain; the moon is fit to burst.
You reach for Sara but the sheets are flat where she should be. Outside, the moon hangs precariously over the trees and under those trees, your wife is kneeling in the dirt.
It’s the middle of the night, you say when you go to her. What the fuck.
I’m making a garden, she says. The moon’s made the soil more fertile. I read it in a magazine.
She’s digging with her bare hands and a plastic cup from her birthday party. A week ago was also the last day of Sara’s thirties and, for reasons you can explain but are sick of tiptoeing around, Sara hated every moment.
It had been a great party: all of her friends, even the ones you didn’t like; no kids to remind her of what she didn’t have; plenty of music and drinks to keep the mood up. She still had to step away twice to collect herself. She’d stood in a spot not too far from this one, her chilled cup pressed against her temple. You’d tried to hug her but she pushed you away. Hot flash, she’d said, the unhappy lines of her face sharpened by the angles of normal moonlight.
She’s been restless ever since. You’d hoped it would pass. It’s not the first time you’ve been wrong.
You sink into a lawn chair that’s tacky from spilled beer and heavy dew and watch her pierce the soil with slivers of something white pinched between her pointer and thumb.
What’re you growing? you ask.
Bones, she says. Go back to sleep.
What the fuck, you say, but what you want to say is, Do you really believe it can work like this and Do you want it to work like this and Less expensive than IVF, at least and You didn’t even fucking ask me and God, I wish I could.
You do fall asleep, though, lulled by the quiet and warmth of lunar light. When you wake she’s sitting on the other side of the garden, four long furrows of soil drawn between you. Her dirt-covered hands rest on her stomach. She hums a song you don’t recognize and you forgot how pretty her voice is. It’s peaceful except for the pressure you feel to ask her what she’s thinking straining against your desire not to know. She stops humming only when the sun crests over the treeline, rising right beside the moon.
Look, she says. Twins.
You look but wish you didn’t because she’s right, the sun and moon are identically bright: two spots of searing white that leave you momentarily blinded. When your vision finally stops fizzling at the edges, sprouts of red-yellow bone marrow dot the garden. You can see them grow and lean toward the light. You can see them harden and calcify in the open air.
Well damn, you say. What’ll you grow next?
Nerves. Organs, she says. Blood.
Yours or mine? you joke.
She doesn’t laugh. She goes inside and sits at the kitchen table where she can spread her magazines and browse nursery decorations and ignore you when you ask what she wants for breakfast.
So you eat your cereal alone in the living room: away from the windows, out of sight of the garden. On TV, scientists talk about the implications of a moon forever full: the tides and seasons and sleep cycles, all out of balance. They worry the moon will burn up or break apart or its new weight will carry it out of orbit. There’s so much they don’t know and it’s amazing, you think, how you all took that soft glow for granted. How two things that never touch can still fall apart.
Jessica June Rowe is a writer, playwright, perpetual daydreamer, and Flash Fiction Editor of Exposition Review. Her fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Best Microfiction 2022, Interstellar Literary Review, Flash Frog, Okay Donkey Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, and Atlas and Alice, among others. She also really loves chai lattes. Find her on Twitter @willwrite4chai.