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The Grey Matters

A Snapshot of a Novel…Perhaps

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A note from Melinda: Tell me what you think. I wrote this today as a spin off of a way-too-long manuscript I wrote years ago. I’m using the same character as before, but the beginning of the book is different. Some factors are true, such as a sister writing a song, but others are entirely fictional. My mind’s been reeling lately :) 

{Not Yet Titled}

by Melinda Williams

My sister once wrote a song. This was back when idle time was possible. Back before every moment was a struggle. To breath. To laugh. To take another step forward. She spent hours playing her guitar. I spent hours sitting in my room and listening through the wall. First, she made up an entire folk story on her own. It’s a story that will stand the test of time. It might even happen… it might have already happened. The beauty of the story is that no one would know it if it had. Has anyone before ever managed to write a potentially true folk legend?

Imagine a dark night with only a small moon to light up the sky. The stars aren’t particularly bright, but the small sliver of the moon is an almost neon yellow. Now call this a Lemon Moon.

The Lemon Moon, so the story of ages goes, changes the world. It comes to take the better half of any relationship. Think of the person you are closest to in this world. A young boy could have a close relationship with the grandmother who raised him. Two sisters could be best friends with nothing, no man, standing in between them. But the closest bond, not better or worse than family or friendship, is the bond of two people who have met and fallen in love. The love between them must be real. This doesn’t always mean happy. It could mean sadness, hurt, betrayal and even hate. For doesn’t it take real love to hate? Imagine the person in your life who loves you. You love them, too. Maybe you met years ago before wrinkles set in and hair receded. Perhaps you met yesterday. True love requires no time line to exist.

In all its glory, the Lemon Moon takes the better half of these two people, no matter which type of relationship they’re from. If the young boy is truly, down to his core, a better person than his grandmother (though aren’t all grandmothers the best?), guess what? He’s gone. If one sister’s soul is purer than the other, she’s disappeared in this dark and almost starless night. If the one you love has loved you deeper, treated people kinder, and it is the cause of their true character… then you’re alone.

Right now, can you say which you would be? Would you disappear or be left behind with all the other lesser halves? And here’s the important part: you will eventually forget that they ever existed. You will be alone, you will feel lost. You will wonder where your other half is and eventually, you will only feel a small worry. You might reach out for someone in the night, finding only an empty bedside, yet not remember who it was you were expecting to feel. Your better half will eventually disappear from your memory entirely. Grandmothers will forget their grandsons. Sisters will forget sisters. Lovers will forget lovers. The Lemon Moon has taken them and the rest of the world is left to make due with what’s left behind.

My sister has written many songs, but has only created one legend. I’ve never written a song, but I’ve created my own through my actions. Here’s my story. My legend. And at the end of it, I hope you understand why, if the Lemon Moon were to really come true, I’d be the one left behind.

Don’t judge me.


Three Years Earlier

I’m getting married today. It’s officially midnight. I’m twenty-nine years old and in a few hours I’ll be expected to walk down the aisle. I wish this night could last forever.

“Just keep this song on repeat,” I tell Eliza. She glances over at me and returns her eyes to the road.

“Is it going to make you cry more?”

I wipe my cheek with the back of my right hand. “No.”

We drive down the highway until the edge of town is only three minutes away. Eliza switches lanes to get off and turn around, back toward our parents house where we’ll spend the night.

“Keep going,” I whisper. She doesn’t say anything, but she listens and doesn’t get off on the exit. She pushes the gas pedal and we keep driving on. I can only close my eyes and pretend we are leaving for good. I can imagine a life so different than the one I’ve been zombie-like in getting through each day. I almost tell Eliza to pull over and let me out… confident that I can run faster than this Kia can carry us. My legs are restless, just like when I try to fall asleep each night. My hands are practically shaking in my lap. Eliza knows these things but she doesn’t need to acknowledge them.

Another twenty minutes pass by.


I sigh and press the tips of my fingers against the window, staring up at the moon. It’s just a small sliver. Tomorrow night will be dark, which just figures. “Yeah.”

“Yeah,” she says, and takes the next exit.

Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

One thought on “A Snapshot of a Novel…Perhaps

  1. I really love the concept the Lemon Moon. And I love the ending to the beginning section, where we find out that the narrator would be the one left behind. It makes me want to know more about what happened to make her think that she’s the lesser half. The description of the moon and the night is great. I can definitely picture that kind of moon.

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