The Moon and her Novelties

artist & stoic daydreamer

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
Springtime arrives with cherry blossoms falling over the streets of Florence. The shower of rosy petals are tangled in the ruby dawn. A young girl approaches those new hours of daylight in a different manner. She goes downstairs into her father's office. He's rarely at home now, so the room secretly belongs to his daughter, Venus. She spent so much time in that office that it became rather a museum of her desires, dreams, and secrets.
Venus quietly takes out her hidden canvases and paintings and begins painting her dreams. The empty canvas lit up her innermost desires to seize its emptiness with meaning. Nobody has ever seen her work. Keeping her work unseen makes it impossible for anyone to be judgmental. Exposing her paintings, she thinks, would make the one thing that has never hurt her become what would destroy her. It is not a quest for external validation, but rather the avoidance of it. In the office, she has nothing to pretend, yet everything to hide. Art ruled by passion yet hidden by vulnerability.
Her eyes stray from the canvas only once, when she hears a silvery voice calling her from the other side of the door. For the last year, that young man waited for Venus to go out of the city and see together the sun sinking before dusk. The Galician man, Carlo, writes lyrics inspired by the coming darkness of the twilight. The harmony grew just as orchids in spring, what a tragedy that orchids bloom only once a year. The twilight embraces Florence with the darkening hours.The white early moon, a miracle and mystery, cover the forest near the city with a silver path.Venus gazes in awe at the magic of the heavens falling upon the sinful earth.
"Look how beautiful the moonlight paints the forest." Venus said, "It seems as if it's calling us, don't you think?"
"Not at all, Venus. I don't feel the slightest desire to follow the never-ending moon path. For those things that stir the most our curiosity are the ones that enslave you, will hold power over you." Carlo said, "I could never trust something as inconsistent as the moon. You're merely moved by the beauty of its fullness. But it is unpredictable and it will become a new moon in a couple of nights.The moon has many phases, or should I say, faces?"
"Following the moon because it is unpredictable is the whole point. Where's the fun in following the sun? If your thought holds any truth, then I'd gladly meet the many faces of the moon. If getting lost is the only reason stopping you, I already got it covered. You're blind to your own strengths."
"I don't trust that moon path of yours."
"You never trust anything that has to do with nature. You're blind to your own weaknesses as well."
"Don't try to cover your own weak points pointing them out at me, everybody knows you've been painting all your life but you are too scared to show anyone your work. You talk about painting with this glimmer of half hope in your eyes and then act as if you had never held a paintbrush in your hands. You're so ashamed of yourself and your work that you can't show your true being. Perhaps, that's why you feel a yearning for the moon––you hide as many faces like her."
Venus remains quiet for a brief second and then adds, "You know what? Guess I'm a coward after all."She left Carlo below the olive tree and walked away into the forest. Her heart is aching in distress as she continues to follow the moonlight. Carlo had never shown her any of his poems either; he is a coward as well. The worst part is that everybody is aware she paints. Her biggest secret isn't a secret at all.
She strives to follow the moonbeams that filter through the pompous forest. The moment Venus fixes her eyes unto the sky looking for the moon she hits her head on a tree branch.
Venus wakes up from her sleep trapped in a transparent floating bubble, perplexed by her surroundings.The place looks like a wide amphitheater enclosing a waterfall pouring radiant water right in the middle. It is a silent waterfall–– smooth as silk. Near the place where the pouring water turns into a pool of light, there grows a tree surrounded by bushes. Titania,the queen of the fairies, shows herself clothed with the sun, one could almost fancy she created the order of the seasons. Glowing with gilded sparks, barefoot, and flying around with her great wings.
Venus is completely consumed by Titania's presence, a blue fairy that portrayed so much power––She feels her whole destiny hangs on her words. "Take it lightly, my dear painter of dreams." Titania says."This place is suspended from the enchanted forest and that commonplace where humans dwell. This is a place where the supernatural and the natural coincide and blend into one cup of magic."
She flies near the moon, and gently grabs a star from the sky's canvas.
"We only open the curtains of the sky to those who need a daring second chance. The stars look down at you humans all dazed by your way of acting. All those who fear are nothing but fools that choose to hide in empty darkness. You that have such a wonderful gift, we beg you to don't waste it away and inspire others to create," Titania said while fluttering closer to Venus."I carry the essence of a star that wishes to guide you in your journey. If you accept, the spark will provide you courage. Before falling into my hand, the star told me that you could only go back to the human realm if you make paintings inspired by 20 poems of your friend Carlo, and then show the paintings to the public."
"A great artist once told me that poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen, and painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt. Now I come to realize that my art shows glimpses of heaven that comfort me, and sharing them will enable others to see those glimpses too. To be all bathed in shame serves no light." Titania smiles and hands the star to Venus. It dissolves instantly in her hands, like darkness dissolving when a candle is lit. As soon as she finishes, the big bubble in which Venus is trapped pops, and Venus's vision turns lighter.
She wakes up under the olive tree covered in shining blue dust. Venus looks at the sky, she can't question what she saw and felt in that suspended realm beyond the veil, it was as true as the wooden texture of the tree. A silhouette is running towards her almost being lifted up the ground; it was Carlo.
"Venus I'm so glad you're alive!" Carlo shouts out cheerfully."Sorry for what I said, I didn't mean it that way... What is all that blue glitter in your dress?"
"Guess I was never properly impressed by the riddle of daylight, but rather with the mystery of twilight." Venus said. "I felt something within the forest pulling me closer, and the moment I bent to remove the tangled strings pulling me into the unknown, I knocked my head against a tree branch and saw stars. It truly seems, as if I finally understood something that was dwelling within me for a long time now."
"You are now talking like a lost poet." Carlo said.
"Listen, these queer moments of truth tend to be fugitive. The stars gaze at us, wishing upon us to bring forth those pieces of heaven that we carry all wrapped in our souls. I was hiding in the darkness when there were stars calling me to join their dance while the music is playing. Could you write 20 poems for me?"
Rains of blue petals cover the streets of Florence. Venus let Carlo into the office, and she began painting his verses on her canvases.The cosmos quivered to its topmost star from that light her soul handed back to the moon.
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