Once In a Blue Moon

This short piece is based on a word prompt (blue) from the WriYe DreamWidth.  It was fun writing something where Erik acts like a typical younger brother towards Gretchen – siblings don’t always get along, after all.  Gilbert appreciates his son’s sense of humor enough that it’s tough for him to scold Erik, even though he knows he should.


Erik frowned up at the sky.  Then, he looked over at his father.  “Papa,” he said, “the moon is white.”

Papa blinked and tilted his head to one side.  His expression was one of confusion and Erik felt his cheeks warm.  “It’s usually white,” Papa said, nodding.  “Well… during a complete lunar eclipse it can look red, but… what color did you expect it to be?”

Stepping over to his father, Erik shrugged.  “Greta said it was going to be blue,” he said.  His cheeks burned hotter when Papa began chuckling.  “It’s not funny, Papa!”

“I’m sorry,” Papa said, as he struggled to keep laughing.  He sighed and hugged Erik.  “You misunderstood, Erik.  A blue moon isn’t actually blue.  It’s the second full moon in a solar month – the third full moon of four in a season.”

“Oh,” Erik said.  He stepped back and frowned up at the moon.  It would have been really neat for it to actually have been blue.  “Why do they call it a blue moon?”

“Language is a funny thing,” Papa said, shrugging.  “The word didn’t used to be ‘blue’ – but a word that sounded similar and actually meant ‘betrayer’, because it was usually the full moon that fell in the spring and the fasting season would be over, but… it’s not.  Right?”

“There’s another month yet,” Erik said.  Then, he nodded understanding.  “So… people felt betrayed by the full moon?”

Papa nodded.  Then, he looked up at the moon.  “It can, actually, look blue sometimes,” he said.  “That can happen when there’s a lot of dust in the air, like from a volcano.”

For a moment, Erik just stared at him.  Then, he smiled.  “That,” he said, “would be even more rare than a second one in a solar month.”  He chuckled softly and said, “That’s how often Gretchen’s right.”

Papa bit off a chuckle and ruffled his hair.  “Be nice, Erik,” he said, but there wasn’t any real anger in his tone.

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