He said he’d lasso me the moon, George Bailey-style. He stroked the bluish-purple moonstone on my ring finger, an heirloom from my grandmother, and whispered that he’d get me a real one. A proper moon stone for a wedding ring.
“But I like this one,” I said.
He shook his head. “You deserve better.”
After work he came home and practiced lassoing outside. He was getting pretty good, too. I said we should enter him in a rodeo, cash in. Then he started lassoing things around the house while I read books on gemstones.
“Listen to this,” I said as he lassoed his phone from across the room. “Adularescence causes moonstones to reflect milky light from below the surface of the stone. It comes from the separation of orthoclase and albite during formation. Because the layers are thin, light scatters across. Isn’t that cool?”
He hmmed and lassoed my favorite peace lily across the room. The terra cotta pot shattered near his feet. Soil scattered like glitter across the wood floor. The plant would be fine; peace lilies are tough motherfuckers. But I couldn’t take the constant jerking of rope.
“It’s time,” I said. “Lasso the moon or stop.”
The shed out back was full of rope he’d been collecting since his promise. They were all linked in an infinite many-colored loop. The moon was a white orb in the light blue sky. Easy to ignore as a cloud if you weren’t searching for it. He stripped down to nothing and drug the rope outside where he whipped it over his head like he was competing in the original Olympics. It worked. He got the moon on a string. Dragging it toward us like it was an egg. All the animals bolted and hid. They know when something’s fucked.
The moon crashed into the field, causing a series of quakes. The roof and walls of our house collapsed. The peace lily wouldn’t survive that.
“Come take a look,” he said. “Touch it.”
Up close it was brown and full of craters. A big brown boulder. The kind you’d push up a hill for eternity because you offended a god by cheating death twice. That’s when I remembered that the moon was only bright white because it reflected the sun. Without that, it was just a big rock. The only thing that made it special was what he’d taken from it.

9 Comments

  1. Koss Just Koss

    Love this. It’s more beautiful than the moon. 😉 The lassoing of things . . . naked even. How to kill things. Strange and wonderful.

  2. Sarah Freligh

    Chelsea, this is fabulous! A lot of balls in the air — the moon, the moonstone, the lasso, the peace lily, the Him and the Her– and the story balances all of them just beautifully! So well paced and I love the nod to Sisyphus at the end, his burden and his duty. Feels like this fits in nicely with your repertoire. Well done.

  3. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Chelsea, so my partner and I were catching up on the latest season of “Yellowstone” episodes last night and there was more than one scene of lassoing, so this seemed like mind meld. And I, too, loved the elements you’ve woven through- moonstone, the moon itself, the plants, the physical things like dirt, shed, plants. I also like the gritty language used- motherfuckers!!! YES! I wonder, could this not be a female protagonist, or a same sex couple? I’d like that, both personally and I think it would alter the “marriage” backdrop and premise? Again, could just be my imprint, as I vowed in 2022 that I’d read more gay/ queer authored books. Food for thought?

  4. Meg Tuite

    Hi Chelsea,
    OMG! Kickass brilliant and that last paragraph is killer! LOVE LOVE THIS!

  5. Adrian Frandle

    this was such a treat – i’m a sucker for the moon and this story lassoed it down for me to hold. ooo, and that last line! thank you!

  6. David O'Connor

    Chelsea, loved this, and yep and the others have said, the lasso-ing works! Loved it!

  7. Koss Just Koss

    Also, this reminded me just a bit of The Birthmark, with a modern twist and the obsession, a different object. How men play god.

  8. John Steines

    Chelsea – this is wonderful, yet so absurd, still sounds believable, what some people think they can do and what they’ll go through to prove it. Very nice work. And this is like a fulcrum to me: ‘All the animals bolted and hid. They know when something’s fucked.
    The moon crashed into the field…’, and how you resolve int in that last paragraph is superb. Fabulous. Thank you for this.

  9. Nancy Stohlman

    Ooh, love the ending of this–in fact the whole second half really has some great momentum! It makes me wonder what would happen if you cut this story by a third or half?? (you knew I would say that eventually, right?) hahahahah xo

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