Lady of the Evening

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Full moons are eerie pleasures. The majesty of the lighted orb gives pause to even the most blighted soul, and the very most blighted begin to rejoice anew. Only the most passionless of any orientation feel no veneration whatsoever. This moon was high in the sky; it was very late. Distinct shadows danced only slightly in the fair blowing breeze. The large unpruned rose bushes swayed along, creating intricate patterns of darkness on whatever was touched by the reflected light. Branches of alder trees became ghastly arms reaching along the grass. This fact disturbed her.

Light, in any form, was something she always tried to avoid. In it she could be noticed, she could be identified for what she was. Long ago she learned the folly of being seen in the midst of her quiet explorations. Though she would never hurt anyone, the mere sight of her caused worry far beyond her means to inspire. This was not something she thought about, it was simply something she knew, something she filed away in those recesses of her mind which allowed her survival.

She had no art in her, no poetry. There was nothing in her which could appreciate a well-turned phrase or take delight in a melodic passage. Whatever part of the divine which touches others with this kind of eternal aptitude was not to be found in her soul. Sad to say it never was to be found, not for generations upon generations.

The shadows danced around her, the wind growing in strength, as she stood hidden behind a large hydrangea. Its light purple flowers seemed magical in the pale light, but this she did not notice. She was small, and could hide well, which served her purposes for the evening. Her voice was shrill, though she rarely uttered a sound so few knew this fact, preferring to speak with her eyes or her body. Indeed, these had more of a vocabulary than anything she could say.

It was not a noble purpose she had but base. She thought not of contributing to a larger philosophy. Rather, it was simply survival she was after, and this she was very good at. A cloud moved past, covering briefly the light of the moon, covering all in shadow for an instant. An instant was all she needed as she moved from behind the hydrangea to the edge of the garage on the side of the house. Her shrew-like face looked around her, trying to see or hear any danger which might have also come out as she moved. Nothing, it was quiet.

The clouds moved past, the light of the moon once again spread along the texture of the buildings and yard. All the cream-colored homes looked exactly the same, making her explorations easy. She could go from yard to yard, house to house, with nary a change seen. It was a nice neighborhood, a well-groomed neighborhood, a neighborhood in which the inhabitants could afford to throw out things which were useful or prized by those unable to afford anything. These things she sought, she needed for herself and for her brood.

It seemed there always was a little one clinging to her, dependent on her own meager abilities to sustain life. The father? No where to be found; left before knowing she was pregnant. This was nothing new either. The fathers of her other offspring did the same, as did her own father, leaving always the mother to take care of the growing ones within and around. This was her lot, and she accepted it.

She reached the garbage can and got the lid open. With only the barest grunt of pleasure she began to rummage through, finding all sorts of treats and delights, which to us would be vile refuse. Half a roll, two chicken legs with some meat still on the bone, a plastic tray with half a serving of mashed potatoes left to be licked clean. She sat and ate, enjoying the bounty of her find, grunting, quietly, in pleasure as she attacked each new morsel.

Though there may be more food to find in a city, she was not an urban dweller. The concrete and asphalt disturbed her. Life lived in the most reduced way still did not allow her to concede to a life lived apart from all sense of connection with the earth. This too was in her blood. She loved the land, though may not have been able to express this love with any sort of rational articulation.

Very few cared about her or her circumstances. Those that did usually poured their attention on the needs of ones in different lands, needs of ones who were on the verge of utter destitution and destruction. There were too many like her here for anyone to really bother to do anything anymore. As long as she wasn’t bothered in her chosen tasks she didn’t mind not having anyone who offered her a more bountiful life. Indeed, she may not have taken it had it been offered. Her independence was ingrained within her. She was a creature of instinct, and these instincts told her not to trust anyone or anything besides her own cunning and strength. So, contentedly she did what would disgust any of us, because it was the way she could make it on her own, and simply live in the simple way she was comfortable with.

Her belly now somewhat full, fuller at least than it had been the half hour before when she first ventured into this yard, she sat, waiting for another opportunity to move without the risk of being seen. There were no dogs in this yard, thankfully it seemed, but one never could tell. Not often, but there were times in which she was caught unaware, and barely missed being ravaged by the fury of a canine guard. So she listened, she looked, she even raised her nose to try and catch the scent of something – for all the senses become extraordinary when life itself is on the edge.

The little one clinging to her grasped extra tightly to her back, his balance not yet found. He was small, his hair dark, his eyes becoming as keen as his mother. Though young he was growing very fast, and he was learning, so one day even soon he would be able to move and live as his mother, keeping the cycle going to further generations. His feeding would begin as soon as she got back home, where there was a modicum of safety found nowhere else. Out in the danger, she ate only for herself, unwilling to risk his curiosity exposing the both of them.

Shadows again gained sway over the eerie light as clouds filled the sky, moving quickly to the west. She did not have long in the darkness, so she moved as fast as she could. Passing over the side path she climbed the fence into the next yard, proceeding to move intently, though not so quickly as to lose her little one. Her short legs were not able to move her rapidly as she ran, nor let her jump high enough to get her over the wooden fence. It was her litheness, her agility, honed over years of moving and escaping, rather than her speed, which now enabled her to take advantage of this brief moment of safety. As she neared the boxwoods in the back of the yard, a light suddenly emerged from one of the windows, pouring a yellow glow upon the grass she was on, brighter even than the moon. Only her momentum kept her moving, her fear exploding within her.

She did reach the back, hiding behind a wide array of various plants and trees and shrubs. It was a big, full yard, offering many places of concealment. Shadows moved within the house. She froze, unwilling and unable to budge even the slightest, her youngster feeling the fear of his mother. Only her dark eyes gave indication she was still alert as she continued to scan the area. The light turned off, but she still remained frozen, unsure now, trapped in her emotions.
Not moving for almost an hour, her simple mind focused simply on not being found, she let her fear slowly recede until once again she felt safe to go back home and spend a quiet day. Tomorrow night would be the same, as would all the nights ahead of her. What else was a opossum to do?

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