BENEATH THE MOON AND STARS
by David Harry Moss
In the dimly lit room two nurses helped Diana from her bed and placed her in the wheel chair. The nurses wheeled her to a big window where she could see the moon and the stars and beneath the moon and the stars she saw a flower garden and a large pond with lily pads and frogs and then the line of trees that formed the beginnings of a dense forest.
“I’m glad the hospital is in the country,” she told the nurses. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to spend time near nature.”
The nurses smiled. One nurse tapped a buzzer attached to an arm of the wheelchair. “When you’re ready to go back to bed, ring for us.
Diana liked the way the powdery dust from the moon and from the stars caressed her face through the glass of the window. She wore a green hospital gown the color of grass. Her feet were bare. She was slender, twenty-two years old, with pale skin and auburn hair.
For a moment she allowed herself to think of what had happened almost a week ago. She remembered foolishly driving too fast at night on a curving road in heavy rain and losing control of the car on a slippery spot and the car colliding with the pillar of an old stone bridge. She recalled awaking in a bed in this hospital with no feeling in her legs.
“So you’re a photo journalist,” the doctor had said to her. “On assignment here in Europe, for an American magazine.”
“Please don’t coddle me, doctor. Tell me if I’m going to be all right.”
She watched the doctor shrug his shoulders and push a hand through his thin gray hair. “You have damage to your spine. You might never walk again.”
“Is there a chance though?”
He blinked his eyes. “I’d have to say no. I’m sorry. The truth is you’re going to be paralyzed from the waist down.”
The moon dust and the star dust made her mind go back to when she was ten years old, to when she had taken a walk in the woods at dusk and had fallen asleep next to a big oak tree. When night came and she hadn’t returned home her mother sent a search party out looking for her. When she awoke she heard crickets chirping. Moonlight glowed on her face.
She remembered hearing the policeman who had found her saying. “She’s a pretty little girl, but strange I’d have to say. Said she was safe in the dark out here - with friends.” He snickered and added, “Said the pile of dirt I was standing on was a fairy mound.”
“She has a vivid imagination,” her mother told a psychiatrist. “I’ve caught her more than once talking to the flowers in our garden, and she claims that the big oak tree in our back yard is kind to her.”
The psychiatrist responded with a concerned expression.
“Do you believe in elves and fairies?” the psychiatrist asked.
“Of course I do”, Diana said. “Elves and fairies are Mother Nature’s children. They are in every plant and tree hoping for our attention so that they may become our friends.”
“Do you ever see these – creatures?”
“They aren’t creatures. And yes, I see them sometimes.”
“What do they look like?”
“Like elves and fairies.”
Her parents were divorced. She lived with her mother. On the advice of the psychiatrist, her mother decided to move from the country to the city so that Diana would be away from the detrimental influences of nature.
Diana reached out and unlatched the window. She pushed the window open, letting fresh air rush into the room. A delicious, fragrant scent of vegetation and flowers wafted over her. She craned her neck enough to glimpse the moon arching over the tops of the trees. Sprinkled about in the ebony sky the stars glittered like chunks of crystal. From off in the distance she detected the faint hoot of an owl. Something fluttered into the room, a beautiful yellow dragonfly. The dragonfly soared above her and when she reached out with her hands the dragonfly settled into the inviting cup her hands made. Being gentle, she held it.
It had been along time since she had seen a dragonfly. She had to go back to when she fell asleep next to that oak tree. The oak tree had whispered to her, “You are safe, here, with us. Your friends.”
The moonlight seemed to brighten. She made out a big oak tree in the haze the moon threw down. Before careful not to harm the dragonfly she moved her fingers just enough and a slight breeze stirred the leaves in the trees. She inhaled and sighed out the air. A chill flowed through her and goose bumps popped out on the flesh on her arms.
A myriad of soft voices murmured to her from across the lawn, from the depths of the forest. “We are here for you, Diana. Come to us.”
She peered down at the dragonfly nestled in her hands. A tingling spread through her spine and down through here legs, a warm current. Without thinking she got up from the wheel chair and hurried across the slick floor and dashed out through the door and down the stairs in her bare feet.
The nurse on duty at the nurse’s station, seeing the impossible, Diana out of her wheelchair and running, gasped in astonishment.
Diana ran outside, across the lawn in the hoary light, passing the flower garden and the pond. She stepped around a mound of earth and came to the oak tree. She released the dragonfly and let her gaze embrace her surroundings. The night air sounded like voices whispering. She threw her arms around the big tree. Her tears soaked the tree’s rough bark. “Thank all of you,” she sobbed.
I am a writer and an actor. I have been published in print and online and have appeared in dozens of major motion pictures. I write in the hope of arriving at an even a slight insight into how we should conduct ourselves.
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