Under the Dark Moon

When the moon is dark and summer nights are hot, I delight in riding the ferry, while enjoying nature’s wonders, and studying other souls that make New York the city that never sleeps. That night, my eyes were smiling on a mother and her babe. My heart was full of the tender bliss they spilled into the world.

She sat on a bench, breastfeeding her child. From where I stood, I only saw their silhouette. But I knew the woman was beaming, absolutely high on the bliss of motherhood. There is a kind of energy that rises when one is in the presence of love and caregiving, an oomph that is pure smile fuel.

I didn’t want to smile alone—joy should be shared—so I searched for other faces around the ferry. I knew their grins would be as wide as my own. And the owners of said faces were probably feeling a bit foolish too. I was wrong. My eyes met frowns, revulsion, even disdain.

The general attitude baffled me. Then comprehension hit me like a kick packed with the stink of chosen stupidity—they were disgusted by the mother and child. Idiots, I thought, unnatural animals! I’ve never had much patience for people who label themselves human, but act like heartless hollow-headed beasts.

At that moment, I could’ve spelled their eyeballs out of their sockets. But nature had been wise enough not to put that kind of power in my hands. All I could do was bare my teeth and brew a few growls.

My raging was interrupted by a whimper. The mother was turning her back towards the onlookers, trying to protect her child and her face from the negativity oozing out of the crowd. Some of them had the nerve to shake their heads in her direction, as if she had been the one to make a spectacle of herself.

I took a couple of steps forward, making sure my boots smacked all my disapproval into the deck. Gaia had not given me the power to eye-gouge idiocy with a thought, but she blessed me with much better. I looked up at the sky, fed on the energies of the moon… When my fingertips began to tingle, I aimed open palms and full intent towards the babe’s whimper. Right before my spell shielded mom and babe under a silky veil of Dark Moon, the mother’s eyes twinkled my way. In my heart, her gaze spoke clearly: I, too, thank the universe for natural human magic.

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a wee note…
– Sanaa, over at Prompt Nights, said “We tend to smile in the exact same language”. Then she invited us to write a poem or fiction piece about something that we feel is important to us. So I expanded “Under the Dark Moon”, a bit of fiction that embraces a concept that is rather important to me: the right to be our natural selves in the open… (without having to eye-gouge anyone *cough, cough, cough*).
– This piece was first published in 2011. And it was loosely based on a real event.

Breastfeeding, by Gadi Ramadhani“Breastfeeding”, by Gadi Ramadhani
via

39 thoughts on “Under the Dark Moon

  1. Whistles!!! ❤💜 Oh this is such an amazing and heartfelt story Magaly 😀 and that too based on a real life episode you say 😉 I love how you connected with the mother and her babe and just adore the ending here. Our humanity and ability to make others smile is what sets us apart from others. Beautifully penned. Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support ❤💜

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

    • As soon as I read the bit you said about smiles, I thought of this stories. I remember feeling happy for them, even though I’ve never been (and have never wanted to be) a biological mother. I admired people who care for those who can’t care for themselves (the very young and the very old and the sick), and to see someone find so much joy in it made me happy.

      Thank you, for another great prompt, Sanaa.

  2. A smile which is so easily (with some) given and received (by some)… I guess the ones u came upon had not a clue as to what a smile was.. shame isn’t it? Their lives must be full of trouble… I’ve been taken aback when I volunteer info to others.. You should see the looks I get… then ? again, if they hadn’t spoken so loudly, then I wouldn’t have responded… lol…. I guess people aren’t use to niceties. All I can say, is that u and I can walk away knowing we felt better for doing..

    • The most important thing is that if I see someone smile and they catch my eye, it makes me want to smile back and say something.. that person has definitely made my day better and it would be nice to come across that person again… A smile is so inviting and comforting…

    • Smiles alone are such cultural things. For instance, in the Dominican Republic when I smile at someone they immediately smile back, they might even start a conversation. When I lived in small towns and was out on a run, even people who didn’t know me would smile back when I smiled at them. In New York City, you get a mixture of reactions–some people would answer a smile with a smile, others might look away, a few might even look at you with all the suspicion they can conjure. It’s strange. But I smile anyway, even if I freak out a tourist or three. 😀

  3. Well, the high road was taken, but it sure would have been fun to have seen smite rays leap from her fingers into those disapproving eyes! My, I seem to be in a bit of a mood! Lol! Loved the story!

  4. I love you for writing this. I feel the same way. I have breastfed almost nonstop for the past 8 years, and I wish it were more admired. I’d like mothers to feel completely comfortable to expose their breasts whenever and wherever they want, like they do in some other countries.

    • I wonder if the same people recoil when they see a mother dog feeding her puppies. And if they don’t, then what the heck are they saying about how they feel about their own specie? People are strange creature, perhaps the only animal that can be ashamed of being itself.

  5. didn’t realize it was fiction til the end. I blame this on religion that makes people think we are not animals when that is exactly what we are and doctors who convinced women that man made formula was better for babies than mother’s milk

    • Most of it is true–the setting, the conflict, my almost yearning to punch an idiot in the teeth… Of course, the shield was made by my body and my roller back (I stood in front of the mom, so that she could continue breastfeeding the babe).

      Don’t even get me started about the double standards when it comes to nudity and people’s ignorance about mother’s milk. I might start screaming.

  6. What a wonderful, protective act. One that surely bonded mother and observer in a very special way. It is sad that a lot of people are so uncomfortable with intimacy in its many forms. Perhaps it makes them feel vulnerable themselves. Wishing will not take away those acts of distaste but being brave enough to be protective might. Well done 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Magaly. Your story is wonderful. It’s really awful how people can react with horror at a natural act and even more awful they let it show, or project it. Personally, I believe these moments between mother and child are so very personal, so very precious, and I would not want to share them with any stranger. But that does not mean I think it merits frowns, revulsion and disdain. I certainly believe it is up to the mother and it’s no one else’s business. This is a wonderful story and thanks for sharing it. I bet you could brew a mean growl! 🙂

    • Thank you for visiting, too. I’m glad I checked your bio on Instagram, if not I would have never connected your blog to your IG account. Your haiku are delicious.

      I agree that the setting for breastfeeding should be a personal decision. Most of the time I’m just surprised that anyone feels that they can have an opinion on whether or not a mother feeds her child when and where a child needs to be fed. And the many people who call the act nasty and “vulgar” annoy me to no end.

  8. This strange aversion to normal human needs is comparatively recent with Victorian attitudes and religious shame and prudishness all intermingled. Luckily I live in a country that for the most part such natural behavior is not frowned on (all that much). I am so glad you posted this piece again.

    • Things are the same in the Dominican Republic, my native country. The attitude towards breastfeeding is completely different: some might look away, to give a mom privacy, if her expression suggests she wants that. But if the mom is someone who continues to interact with others while she breastfeeds, there is no awkwardness. It’s a natural thing.

      “Progress” and “civilization” have taken a lot from us.

  9. “There is a kind of energy that rises when one is in the presence of love and caregiving, an oomph that is pure smile fuel.” like this line each line is a poem in itself Magaly, i quoted this because it’s my favorite…not everyone in this world is gifted with the sight to visualize and honor love…sigh…let’s forgive them…poor creatures…

  10. It is a question of being emphatic towards what is more important. Is it seeing a baby not overly left hungry or otherwise crying or a little discomfort at seeing natural breast-feeding which could just be done with in a jiffy and no one the wiser. One must be more human in thoughts!

    Hank

  11. Such a lovely and affectionate story. What is there not to smile about; a joyous and tender moment between a mother and child! “I, too, thank the universe for natural human magic.” Precious!💙

  12. Excellent story Magaly! It is so sad, that people can turn such a wonderful experience of love, between child and mother, into something negative??? I don’t understand! I love the protection spell!
    “the right to be our natural selves in the open”
    YES!! 🙂

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