Today’s work of fiction brought to you by the writing prompt of Em Hawker, and Writer’s Digest.
I had not expected to see him here. Not tonight. I didn’t know that he knew about the event; had thought him allergic to cats. Had thought dancing and such merriment beneath him. And yet, here he was.
I had spent the better part of the last two weeks trying to forget him and that one moment of weakness that resulted in a secret rendezvous under the crescent moon, but it was to no avail. He was everywhere. Flirting with bowls of ice-cream at the deli down the road. Languishing in the cutlery section of the House and Kitchen store. Dropping boxes of weet bix and milk on my front doorstep, knowing exactly what it would do to me.
Knowing there was no way I could eat them without him.
Knowing that without him, I was incomplete.
I looked at him now, tall and slim, standing perfectly straight next to the joyful puppy. I wouldn’t talk to him. I wouldn’t go near him. Tonight was not about me or him or the emptiness that existed in the centre of my being; it was about Daisy.
This was Daisy’s night.
I looked to where my friend stood on the top of the grassy knoll under the light of the stars and waited for her to begin her speech.
‘Hi everyone. I’d just like to thank you for coming tonight. It really means a lot to me.’ She looked nervous. I couldn’t blame her. ‘Some of you might be wondering why? Why I would choose to attempt such an impossible task. Well, the truth is simply that I’ve always dreamed of it. Ever since I was a small child living on the farm and looking up at the beauty of the night sky, I have dreamed of jumping over the moon. My mother said it wasn’t possible. My father said only the best could do it. My brothers and sisters said I was crazy.’
‘There was only one person who believed in me in those days, and that was Farmer Dan. He used to set up hurdles in the paddock for me to jump over, gradually increasing their height until the day he told me I was ready. It was time. So he set me free and here I am.’
There was a smattering of applause from the audience. I looked out the corner of my eye to see him clapping. It irked me. Why was he here?
There was no time to consider it, though. The cat began to play her fiddle — a rousing number that had everyone clapping along, and the little dog howled in excited encouragement. Daisy walked slowly down to the bottom of the hill, her every step another moment of anticipation as we all waited for the big show. Finally, she took a deep breath and began to run.
Have you ever seen a cow run up a hill to jump over the moon? It’s a beautiful sight to behold. Her hooves beat the ground with rhythmic beauty, her tail flapped in the breeze like a silken sheet, and her udders… they shook and they wobbled and moved from side to side like the wings of an egret, propelling her forwards and upwards; gifting lift to her girth and her dreams. The moon was nothing for that cow. She could have jumped over the entire universe and still made it look small and insignificant.
When her feet returned to the damp carpet of the sprawling paddock, the only thing louder than our cheers and applause was the cackle of the kelpy who had never seen such fun in all his years spent chasing stupid sheep around the farm.
I wiped the tears from my eyes, so happy for my friend. So happy for all of us.
‘Daisy!’ I gushed, when she returned to the party. ‘That was beautiful! So beautiful.’
‘Thank you, my friend. I’m so pleased you could be here. I’m so pleased you could all be here!’
Her comment made me remember him, and I paused a moment before I asked her. ‘Please. Tell me. Why did you invite the Spoon? You know I’ve been trying to get over him.’
She looked at me, her large brown eyes filled with a wonderful kind of compassion and moo-ed softly. ‘Don’t you see Dish? You need him.’
‘I don’t!’ I declared with gusto. ‘I’ve been doing just fine without him.’
‘But what about ice-cream Dish?’ She asked gently. ‘How will you eat ice-cream without him?’
‘I’ll have it in a cone!’
‘What about soup? How will you have hot, spiced pumpkin soup when the weather turns cold?’
‘I’ll drink it from a mug.’
‘What about the weet-bix? How will you eat your weet-bix?’
I couldn’t look at her, so I stared at the ground instead. She was right; of course, she was. There were a great many things I could do without Spoon, but eating cereal was not one of them.
‘Dish,’ Daisy whispered. ‘You need Spoon. Just like the Cat needs the Fiddle, and The Little Dog needs his Laugh, and I need the moon! We are all nothing without them; simply pointless names in a nursery rhyme.’
When I finally looked up, it wasn’t Daisy standing in front of me, but Spoon; a smile on his face, a carton of milk and box of weet-bix in each hand. ‘Run away with me,’ he whispered, and in that moment there was nothing I wanted more.
We took off across the paddock, the night air whipping past, the moonlight glistening off Spoon’s silver, ladle-shaped head as he led the way. Behind us, I could hear the sound of the fiddle and the joy of Little Dog, and I couldn’t help but laugh too at all the joyous, wondrous excitement. Denying who I was had caused me so much angst, but I was finally alive and free. I was the dish, and he was the spoon and we were made for each other.
‘What happened?’ Daisy asked, looking at the ground.
‘I think she tripped over? Spoon answered.
‘Can we fix her?’ Cat asked.
Little Dog laughed, ‘Not even super glue will put Dish back together.’
‘What will you do Spoon?’ Daisy asked.
He shrugged. ‘Eat the ice cream out of the tub I suppose.’
Thanks to Emily for this somewhat tragic love tale.
Who had weet-bix for breakfast?