There is No Moral to My Story

by Charlotte E. Wilde

April 1st, 20XX

Sometimes I fool myself into believing I know the taste of nostalgia, murky with history like a root beer kiss, and tonight was just such a night: wavering sleepless, cool as a shoulder or your side of the pillow with air thick enough to hold. Certain fortunate souls are unafficted by nagging hinderances commonly known as morality and while I don’t count myself among them I’d stolen out into the dark to scavenge tulips like any other common pest. As each stalk in my grasping fingers gave way with a satisfying click the saccharine gratification of rule breaking slipped down the back of my throat, a sneaking aftertaste that fit the night as a hand in my pocket. Calmly I surveyed the number of cropped to un-cropped stems– things felt cleaner already.

As dour as she was, 4AM knew me well enough to pass over scolding me for my transgressions, preferring instead to turn her sallow cheek. I sat looking at her as she stared away, shifting shadows and me, sifting mental memory banks on the back porch, parsing the color of the moon to somewhere between earwax and macaroni and cheese.

Peering up, I realized he stood beside me now, close but never touching.

“The moon,” he said carefully, solemnly, “it’s like a field of wheat.”

I considered him then, silent, but felt myself hovering on his verge like a black hole. If this was all there was could I resign myself to this being all I was, too? You don’t place moral judgements on lightening for its flash and if you’re someone who exists only to be devoured, so be it. The moon winked with conspiracy, a gaping mouth in the sky.

“Beautiful,” he said.

“Gruesome,” I agreed.

Flowers, like swollen confetti, lay helpless at our feet.