The Fifty Menai were goddesses of the lunar months, daughters of moon goddess, Selene, and the mortal, Endymion, asleep for her love for all time. Some deities are echoes of older ones, supplanted by the Olympians and fading into the background of myths, quiet and mostly forgotten.
She stood in the doorway covered in flour from the moon, like a light layer of snow. First, though, she had been out in the backyard with my sister and me on a tire swing.
Her parents were divorced, too. She had told us that about herself when we met. My sister and I didn’t talk about more than that, because our parents were divorced and it was the greatest source of fear and loathing in our lives to that point and we didn’t want to talk about our own parents any more than she wanted to talk about hers.
We let her come over because she said she was lonely at her house, all the time. She ate dinner here, and spent the night. The next day we walked to school together. Coming home with us, she didn’t even knock when she arrived. She walked right in like she lived here, too.
Then, we played this game where one person rode the tire and the other two tried to smash each other with the tire swing like sumo tetherball. First person knocked out of the dirt pit around the bottom of the tire swing is the loser.
We were playing hard, all sweaty. She was throwing me at my sister when my foot caught my sister’s jaw and both of us, my sister and I, tumbled to the ground.
Then we were all fighting because maybe she had done that on purpose with my leg and my sister.
Then all of us started throwing body parts at each other. We were all mixed up and covered in dust and we were tumbled all together like that, like we couldn’t tell one girl’s leg from the other’s. I looked up and the moon was out in the evening sky like a milk-white mole in the purple twilight. A full moon like that, and we knew her mother was coming to get her soon, if she remembered that her daughter was over here, with us.
Then we thought it was snowing. White powder drifted down from the sky – from the moon, it does that sometimes – like dusty snow. We were happy at first, when we thought it was snow. We clapped our hands and imagined missing school in the morning and making snow angels and snowballs and snowmen.
But it wasn’t snow.
It was flour.
Flour descended from the full moon and dusted the world in the starchy weight. We started coughing.
Into the house, she stopped at the doorway, only inside enough to breathe and no farther. She was covered in snow. We heard the knock at the front door. Loud, sharp knuckles bit into the glass window that decorated our door.
“My mother’s here,” she said. Her eyes were covered in flour. The flour mixed with the damp of her eyes like sleep, but silver – solid silver.
We never saw her again after that, except in the sky for a little while.
Soon, I knew my sister and I would be like her, a hanging stone passing in the night, just hovering up there where the occasional footprints of brave, strong men found our pristine faces, but mostly we’d all be alone inside our own skins, and that would be that for the rest of our lives.
So, I remember our friend, and the last time we saw her, and I hope she’s doing better than my sister and me.