Spoon Fingers & Moon
There were flies in her hair. Not around her hair, but in them, in the middle of the strands, hundreds of baby flies. They went there to hide, from the spiders. She didn’t do well with eight-legged things, so the flies took their babies there, so she could look out for them without even trying too much.
Her fingers were spoons, too. For stirring cakes while she slept. She slept a lot. And the cakes were glad of that, especially the butterfly ones. In the wonky woods, the butterfly cakes did well, although it was disconcerting to walk there, in the summer. Avoiding midges is hard enough, so avoiding cakes with wings and frosting licks is quite something else.
Those that risked the woods though, they didn’t mind so much. The sight of the lady with the spoon fingers was worth the discomfort. And at the end, there was always victoria sponges waiting for their tongues.
That’s one of the funny things about cakes, they like to be eaten. Flies, they don’t, particularly. Although it does happen occasionally, even to butterfly ones.
The woman was old. She’d been born with the Moon. They tolerated each other because of the things they’d seen over millennia, together.
‘Do you remember when the first fish crawled from the sea and fell in love with that grain of sand?’
That’s what the Moon asked one full September night, as they sat together at the top of the rowan tree. Spoon Fingers did remember. She remembered everything, even when she didn’t want to.
‘And because the fish couldn’t breathe next to that grain of sand, it grew itself wings but refused to be an angel. And over time, as it lay next to that grain of sand, loving it while slowly dying, something felt sorry for it, and transformed the wings into arms, do you remember?’
The Moon was massive that night, and melancholic. So much that it turned men into wolves and bats into biting myths in some forgotten place somewhere in the quiet heart of a country in love with snow and castles. Spoon Fingers tried to block out the sound of the howling and the scorch of the screaming coming from that old country to the east of the Dawn. But her ears weren’t shaped well for fingertips made from the heads of stirring utensils. So she listened, as the Moon drawled on.
‘Then somehow, when the fish was land-caught, the world got shook and the tides shifted. And that grain of sand ended up in the ocean, beneath the waves that turned and turned and took it out to the deeps where not even mermaids remember the assurance of song?’
Spoon Fingers sighed. She knew how this story ended, just like so many others that the Moon spoke of when it was full and feeling sad.
‘Why do you tell these tales, again and again, when you’re fat and low on the western horizon, waiting for morning to make your melancholy sleep until the next month? Why not make a new one up, a one that weaves as it should, with smiles and sun and tomorrows full of laughter?’
Moon snorted, rolled a little from the branch it was leaning against, affronted by the old woman’s words.
‘You do it then. Tell a story that ends happily. With no separation, or things being shaken.’
Spoon Fingers closed her eyes. The nearby leaves of the rowan unfurled. Burst out a bunch of berries of such a vivid redness all the rubies in the between world sighed. A blackbird flew onto the branch, sat on the old woman’s crossed legs and used its beak to unpick a bit of wool from the caterpillar silk the old woman spun all the outside of herself from. It flew with the wool towards the Moon, hooked the red berries to the craters on its ancient face. Then the old lady’s fingers began stirring as she slept. Round and round they went, faster and faster until the world rotated beyond the blink of eyes and trajectory of thoughts. Then her old lips opened and out it fell, a damp oyster shell. She woke up.
‘Open it, Moon, open it. Then remember the grain of sand. Remember the arms of a fish giving up on being an angel, so love could grow. Do it, old friend, and tell me what you see. In your sky limbs, that are unfamiliar with feather and arms, open this oyster, and tell me what you see.’
But the Moon was gone. Fallen behind the last roll of night on the horizon, a ball in search of a forgotten something never quite wanting to be caught. And Spoon Fingers crawled down from the rowan tree, her fingers clicking stories as she descended, for the waking morning as it yawned golden from all the roots and wet places that waited among the quiet places of her secret quiet world.