Short Stories on Tall And True

Clouds blowing in to obscure The Lonely Moon

The Lonely Moon

  12+  If you ask me, the Moon is the best object in the night sky. And you don't need an expensive telescope to observe it. A pair of binoculars does the trick. I'm looking at the Moon now, leaning against a wall to steady my hands, and it's a beautiful sight. No wonder it inspires poets and lovers.

Mind you, I'm no poet. I find all that rhyming guff too flowery, and as for the non-rhyming stuff, I don't get it. That may explain my career in banking and finance. I was better at Maths at school than English.

I'm not a lover, either, not since my last divorce. Thankfully, our separation was more amicable than my first wife, who took me to the cleaners. I'm retired now, but I earned big bucks back then, and because she'd stayed home and raised the kids, the judge thought it was a fair settlement.

The 64,000-dollar question I have for that judge is how he would feel about losing his house, car, and boat and only seeing his kids and the family dog once a month.

I close my eyes and take a deep, calming breath. Although I'm momentarily blind, I can still see the Moon's bright image on the back of my eyelids.

My second wife and I tried counselling before we finally called it quits. The counsellor said I had "unresolved emotions" from my first marriage, principally "unexpressed pent-up anger". Honestly, the guff counsellors spout is as bad as poetry.

The wind is picking up, and I regret not wearing a warmer vest. But it's a quarter Moon, the best time to view its features, so I tense my muscles to stop shivering and adjust the binoculars. 

My first marriage lasted fifteen years, my second ten. Sometimes, I reflect on how things might have turned out if I'd met my second wife first. We were better companions. But then, we were also older, with less passion in our relationship and no kids.

I don't see the kids much nowadays. They've grown up and have their own lives, and last I heard, I'll be a granddad again soon. The kids never warmed to my second wife, though they seemed happy when their mum remarried. Perhaps they have "unresolved emotions" about me, too.

Confession time: I was unfaithful to my first wife. I don't know how the kids found out, but the divorce was messy, and everyone blamed me for it. Perhaps the judge was right … and the counsellor. I wasn't unfaithful to my second wife. It was the opposite. I'd "forgotten how to love", so the counsellor said.

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Clouds are blowing in, obscuring my view, which is disappointing. I've always found it odd how the Moon is associated with poets and lovers. Up there, all on its own, tethered to the Earth on a distant orbital dance, it's hardly romantic. It looks lonely.

With a farewell glance at the night sky, I pack away my binoculars and walk home … alone.

© 2023 Robert Fairhead 

Thanks to Janusz Walczak from Pixabay for sharing the perfect image of the Moon.

Furious Fiction is a short story writing challenge run by the Australian Writers' Centre on the first weekend of the month. I have submitted an entry to every Furious Fiction since my first in April 2020. Except for the October 2023 challenge, when I was in Perth on a whirlwind trip for a family wedding.

To satisfy my Furious Fiction fix, I decided to write an unofficial short story, as I did in 2022 when the challenge briefly moved from monthly to quarterly, using October's brief and respecting the 55-hour deadline.

However, the following weekend, I was involved in the Voice to Parliament Referendum in Australia and the next, while still in shock from the result, I narrated and released a Tall And True Short Reads podcast episode, the last of a three-part story inspired by the Voice campaign.

The first chance I had to write my short story was on the last weekend of October. The brief was:

  • The story had to feature someone looking through a TELESCOPE or BINOCULARS.
  • It had to include a five-digit number, e.g. "90210", "10,000", etc.
  • And the words BLIND, WIND, FIND and MIND (did you spot them in my story?).

The Writers' Centre also publishes its Furious Fiction showcase on the last weekend of the month. I had planned to include a telescope in my story. But I read the showcased entries and some featured telescopes, and they were good, so I changed tack on my astronomical equipment. And, as astronomers like our narrator will tell you, binoculars are perfect for observing our nearest celestial neighbour in the night sky, the Moon.

As often happens with my Furious Fictions, after labouring on the opening paragraph, The Lonely Moon "wrote itself". I let my first-person narrator's conversational words and emotions flow, adding appropriate callbacks, confident I'd know when I'd written the last sentence.

I may sound big-headed, but four years of official and unofficial Furious Fictions have given me confidence in my writing process. That's why I highly recommend the Writers' Centre's monthly challenge to aspiring writers or those like me who crave monthly fixes!

N.B. You might like to read my September 2023 Showcased Furious Fiction story, My Speech.


Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

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