Look to The Moon
For a far-flung family in the loneliest hours, there is one universal point of contact…
Coffee Break Tale
Stella couldn’t sleep. She’d tried reading, but that had been a mistake as her novel was more of a keep-you-awake than a send-you-to-sleep book. Then she’d tried counting sheep. Hopeless. She’d never been good at numbers. Luke certainly hadn’t inherited his maths abilities from her.
Finally she got up, grabbed her pink fluffy dressing gown and went downstairs.
She put the kettle on, regretting the fact she hadn’t remembered her slippers as her feet touched the cool tiles. She wasn’t sure a cup of cocoa would solve anything at 1am but it was worth a try.
Loneliness washed through her as she sat at the kitchen table and looked out at the moon that sailed high above the rooftops: such a pale, cold oval of a moon.
Of course this was hard. She bet she wasn’t the only mum in the country who couldn’t sleep tonight.
Luke was on his way back from a fresher’s party. It had still been in full swing when he’d left, but he was exhausted. Teenagers weren’t supposed to get tired out, were they?
His mum often teased him about that. “You’ll have a great time at uni,” she’d said. “There’s always something going on. Remember to play as well as work.”
That’s why he’d gone to the party, really. He’d been feeling pretty lonely. There was no one he knew on his course. Applied Mathematics wasn’t one of the trendier subjects. His best mate, Paul, had gone to Cardiff to do a media degree. The party had been OK, friendly enough, but it was funny how you could still be lonely in a crowded room.
A surge of homesickness struck him as he headed back up the unfamiliar cinder path to his accommodation block...
Stella took her cocoa back to bed. She’d just given herself a stern talking to. Children grew up and left home; it’s what you wanted them to do. She was so proud of Luke. As was his father.
She sighed at the thought of James. She would have given anything to feel his arms around her tonight. She cut off the thought. At this rate, she’d have to give herself another stern talking-to...
Safely back in his room, Luke glanced up at the moon. Mum had told him once that when she missed Dad, she’d stand at the window, look up and be reassured that Dad was never so far away – he was still under the same moon.
It helped a lot when he was younger. They’d put out his bedside light, open the curtains and look out into the starry sky.
“A million stars, but only one moon. And I bet your dad’s looking up at it right now. What do you think?”
Far away, James Rawsthorne was in his barracks. His thoughts were with his wife and son tonight. He wondered how Luke was getting on.
Your first night at uni could be strange. His studious, sensitive son might be finding it difficult or he might be having a whale of a time.
Stella would be finding it hard, too. They’d spoken briefly earlier.
He glanced at his phone. It would be just after 1am in the UK. Too late to ring either of them.
He could send a message, though. Stella kept her phone on silent at night, and Luke might still be up.
He selected an image, added an x and pressed Send.
Knowing Mum, she’ s probably looking at the moon right now, Luke thought, as he climbed into bed.
He hadn’t fully closed the blinds. The silver light slanting through made patterns on the wall. It was oddly comforting.
His phone buzzed and he realised he hadn’t put it on charge, or switched it to silent. It must still be in his jacket pocket. He got back out of bed again, curious.
Stella’s phone vibrated on the bedside table. She picked it up.
Her husband was a man of few words. There were no words on this message, but there didn’t need to be.
She smiled and texted back a swift reply. I love you, darling. Luke was smiling too. He was still looking at his phone. His dad never said much, but he always made it count. He had just sent through an emoji of a smiley yellow moon.