Sunday, March 1, 2015

Moonlight Not Written (#SOL15 Day 1)

An Offering (M.A Reilly, 2011)

I had Wallace Stevens on my mind when it happened.  It was an insistent voice in my head chanting two of his lines over and over as I watched the streets slide past out the window of the car.

The book of moonlight is not written yet
Nor half begun...

It wasn't night, nor was there a promise for a full moon later. That was a week away. I don't know what triggered my memory of these lines, but I was intrigued, half listening to what my husband was saying, half thinking about what is not written.

It was Friday afternoon and we had left Newark and were making our way through Bloomfield to get on the Garden State Parkway. We were heading towards home when my husband slowed the car to a stop in order to yield to oncoming traffic.

The young man in the green car behind us did not yield.  He did not stop until after his car clipped the rear driver's side bumper of my year-old car.



"He's a communication major at William Paterson.  He wants to be a sports broadcaster," Rob is telling me an hour later as we sit in a restaurant. Off to our right three older men sit at a table, a small cup of custard is brought to them with a single lit candle and the waitresses gather and sing a quick Happy Birthday.

The he, Rob is talking about is Giuseppe, the young man who was diving the green car.

"He was nervous as hell," Rob says.  "I told him, 'Nothing bad happened.  Relax. We're all okay.  Just a few dents and all of it can be fixed.'"


Even though Rob is now officially retired from teaching, the profession remains with him, continues to define him. He was pissed in the car but when he stepped out, when he saw that the driver was just a boy a bit older than our own son--he quickly morphed into teacher mode.

I am a teacher. I am.

He became what best defines him: a teacher soothing a kid who was panicking. Getting him to talk about himself, his schooling, his dreams. Soothing the boy's mom who arrived at the scene after her son had called. No one was hurt. Laughing with the cop from Bloomfield who told him, "Now I have draw this scene."

"Hey, you shouldn't have cut out that art course."

I was reminded later that afternoon as I sat in the restaurant with a slight headache pressing and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand that love is mostly complicated, but some days it feels less so.  It's like that book of moonlight, unwritten, not even half begun.


  1. Beautiful. I love the way you framed this with the moonlight, not half begun -- A love letter to your husband, the teacher.

  2. Wow. First, that gorgeous picture (I'm a sucker for slices with pictures) and then, this beautiful post. Julianne is right, a love letter.

    1. Thanks Deb. The image is one I made a few years ago in my yard. Look forward to reading other's slice of life stories...

  3. Wow- your description of that moment when the green car clipped the back of yours... I could just feel it. And the aftermath- the inner thinking and action- they work so well to make this a rich slice. Good luck with the challenge.

    1. So good to know you could feel it. Haven't done this challenge before so I appreciate your wishes for good luck. I'll need it:)

  4. The layers of this piece so beautifully unfold. The poem, your thoughts, the accident, and the portrait of your husband quickly and slowly unfolding. A captivating piece of writing.

    1. Thanks so much for your response. Sometimes the words flow--as they dd for this post. Most times, there's a struggle to get the words to mean what I want or to fid what it is I want to say. I checked out your blog and am a fan. Look forward to reading more...

  5. I also enjoyed the layers of this post- mixing so much into it and I can so relate to your retired husband who is always a teacher. I am proud to keep my teacher self healthy. His came out in a wonderful way.
    Can't wait to read more of your slices.

    1. Thanks Bonnie. I took some time to read your blog. You inspire me. Look forward to reading more.


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