Gabriela’s Moon

Editor’s note:

Dr. Ricci is a prolific and successful writer whose prose in this vignette is poetic. We’re proud to have her among our contributing authors here at Two Drops of Ink. I hope you’ll check out here bio and follow her links – get to know her and follow her. That is what we do here: we share and promote the work of others with a strong belief in sowing the seeds of collaboration.

By Claudia Ricci


She is lying here, a fallen angel, in a foot of fresh snow.  It is dark.  The middle of the night.  She has landed right in her own backyard, out near the row of pines.  See her arms and legs, akimbo.

She is watching the sky.  Waiting.  There are stars galore, the sky splattered.  But she is waiting for something more.

The email said, “Tonight will see the first full moon coincide with the winter solstice in 6000 years.  The last time this happened, Moses went up to Mount Sinai for the Ten Commandment stones.  Don’t miss this, a once-in-ten-thousand-lifetimes event.  The moon will be so big, so bright, that you won’t even need your car headlights.”

Her eyes are glued to the horizon, just above the pines.

There are benefits, she thinks.  Surely, tonight there are benefits.  So what that she cannot sleep a wink when it is dark.  So what that she cannot close her eyes at night because the dreams are way too real.  Too frightful.

She stares into the dark.  She sinks a little deeper into the soft wet snow.  She’s wearing a polartec beneath the down jacket.  A sweater under that.  She’s got gloves on under the leather ski mittens.  A neck warmer, a wool hat, and a soft white scarf wrapped around her face.  Oh, and two pairs of socks beneath her Uggs.

She phoned him as soon as she got the email about the moon.  About three.  She forwarded it with two words attached: “Join me?”

When he didn’t answer right away, she wrote again.  “I will be in my backyard.  With or without you.”

Finally, he wrote back.  “Lo siento muchisimo.  Es imposible.  Cannot get away tonight.”

She squirms, moves the white scarf away from her mouth.  A puff of breath turns white.  It reminds her of what the old woman told her: when you are frightened, or anxious, close your eyes and picture your breath in color.  Pick a soothing color, and picture it filling your chest, surrounding your heart.  With love.

Normally, she goes for gold.  But tonight, thinking about him, tonight her chest is a cavity as dark and lonely as the universe.  And her breath is definitely white.

Her attention is drawn toward the soft glow of light gathering above the dark curtain of trees a few feet away.  The top edge of the tallest pine has, a halo?

She lifts up onto on her elbows.  Steadies her gaze.  Suddenly the crisp round edge of the moon is just there, moving up behind the pine tree.  The glowing light gathers.  The moon’s motion is surprisingly quick.  She falls back into the snow.  She takes in a slow breath and holds it.

She wants him there.  For chrissake, Julio, couldn’t you make up some goddamn excuse?

You used to.  You used to.

Es imposible.  Si, si es imposible.

The moon is fully clear now.  A giant disc, yes.  But nothing particularly out of the ordinary.  So much for Moses’ moon.

She closes her eyes and stays in the snow until the moon is straight overhead.

She thinks about this: how many disappointments there have been.

And this: how many lies.

His lies to her.  Hers to him.  Hers to


The next day, a follow-up email arrives: “That widely circulated story about the moon and Moses?  Sorry, folks, but that was mostly a fake.  The only part that was true is this: the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere falls on December 22nd this year.  But the moon isn’t full until tonight.”

When night falls, she is back watching the moon rise again.  But this time, from the warmth of her bedroom window.  As the light edges over the pines, she eyes the clock: 2:34 a.m.

She yawns.  Tugging the belt of her bathrobe tighter, she stands at the easel set in the corner of her bedroom, by the window and she begins to paint the moon.

Photo credit:

Claudia Ricci, Ph.D



Claudia chose an abstract painting of herself as a photo for her bio. She is an artist as well as a writer.

Claudia Ricci, Ph.D., taught English, journalism and creative writing at the University at Albany, SUNY for 14 years, and did a year-long teaching sabbatical at Georgetown University in 2009. Formerly a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, she is now a freelancer, writing both hard news and feature stories. She turned to fiction writing in 1991 and earned her Ph.D. in English (Teaching, Writing, and Criticism) from SUNY Albany in 1996. Her first novel, Dreaming Maples, was published in 2002 after it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her second novel, Seeing Red, appeared in January, 2011. Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines nationwide including Alaska Quarterly Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Bayou, Yemassee, Barkeater, The Adirondack Review, The MacGuffin, and Another Chicago Magazine.  Ricci’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Business Week, Parentsmagazine and The Washington Post. She has been writing for the Huffington Post since 2008 and keeps her own blog at

Claudia’s paintings:

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Poetry Break: ‘Red Bird Alert’ by Claudia Ricci

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  1. Hi Claudia,

    I have come late to the party having only read this today because of your introduction in another post as a new monthly contributor. A warm welcome to you by the way!

    Totally enjoyed this! Wonderful writing. Thanks for sharing your gift and I look forward to reading more of your offerings.


    Carol (aka Lady Cee)

  2. Please to meet you Claudia, I particularly loved reading this piece because I have had a love affair with the moon my whole life. Watching the harvest moon, or blood moon always tantalized my curiosity. My wife and I enjoy moon gazing so I will be reading this to her. Thank you and welcome to the community. John.

  3. Hi Claudia – Your piece shares such beautiful imagery and depth of emotion! I have always loved when the moon is full and have often gone out to view it from the countryside. You have captured it in prose and left me wondering how “she” – Julio’s spurned love, will capture it in painting 🙂

  4. Hi, Claudia. I can see it, feel it, hear it. Progression is liquid and engaging. Your superior writing skills provide a splendid read. I am privileged to experience such fine writing. Thanks for posting!

  5. Claudia,
    I am in love with the moon. I have had this infatuation for years, and regularly go out an lie in my yard so we can spend time together. My favorite time to go out is when the moon is full. As you can imagine, this piece captured my attention and held it throughout. I love the images your writing creates. The flow is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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