On Winter’s eve, especially one so cold, Roy is witness to unquestionable beauty. Even the branches glitter. He looks up. The moon hangs, swollen and ripe, perfectly placed within an inky sky. This must be Heaven.

His mother’s words flit back and forth, “Moonrise, Blue Moon.” She wears an apron, hand stitched and patterned from the finest Irish linen. Round her neck is a chain with locket.

Alice tilts her head and nods toward him. She presses one hand against the apron’s cloth. As she speaks, her words drift on smoke rings.

“Mind you keep a blanket close.” She pauses to exhale. “It’s a frosty night.”

She gazes through the attic window. Moonlight gleams through glass. Beneath the window is a garden. Hard packed soil is all the eye can see. Her smile is a secret. Buried deep beneath the earth are the bulbs she had planted in autumn.

“Sleep darlings,” she whispers.

He wants to sleep, too. In sleep, one finds stillness. Instead he stares at the rafters. His cot is narrow, a makeshift type of bed. The blanket is wool and itches skin. Tears sting. He understands this and so he blinks them back.

He recalls how she had loved to sing about the moon and the colour blue. He imagines her sitting on it, a glass of Gin in hand. She winks.

A canopy of stars lights the sky. Frost has kissed the branches, leaving nothing but prettiness. The moon lights his path.

“Climb a ladder, pick a star. Call it magic, if you must.”

Her voice begins as a whisper, gentle lyrics scrawled upon a torn sheet of paper. Notes build. Softly, gently, she sings about a river. Her words: a broken hymn, an arrow to his heart.

Standing alone, she is precious in her solitude, with eyes wide and deep, a child. A lock of hair falls across her pale cheek and he stops an urge to tuck it into place. Her feet are bare. Unflinching, she stands tall. 

Who is she? Familiar yet unrecognizable, with eyes the colour of moss. When she turns to face him, he remembers emerald sparks and velvet. He hears the sounds of laughter, a bear, and talk of stars.

They move in unison, one step forward, two steps back. Her gaze never leaves his face. She reaches for his hand.

He asks himself, Is this heaven?

He does not believe in magic, in that which he cannot explain, certainly not angels. There is reason in science. This unfolding wonderland can be explained. Roy is certain: warm air mass is pushed above cold. Icy precipitation forms. If the warm air mass moves out of the way and it is cold between the storm clouds and the ground, -. He shuts his eyes.

Her hand grips his. Her fingers are warm. She leans in to whisper,

“Sleep, Daddy.”

Part One

Draft # 3