Disappearing Act

Long time no see or is it post? I don’t know. I’ve been away awhile blah blah blah no internet blah blah blah school work blah blah blah the dog ate my homework… You know the usual arsenal of excuses. So, I thought I would post something slightly different and a little personal. I saw this floating around in my laptop and I thought the title was very fitting for this post.

This is my work, my words and my story. So please do not steal this. If you do well, I’ll be very, very sad.

Disappearing Act

As a young girl born in the Philippines I grew accustomed to the storms during the rainy season. In fact, I loved them and the kaleidoscope of high and lows that created them. I especially loved it when a huge storm blew in because it meant no school. Back then I was oblivious to the terrible devastation a storm could deliver. To me, though, stormy days were more than days off school, they were a display of the might of Mother Nature. In my young mind they were like an intricate dance. The deafening howl of the wind was the music that prompted the swaying of the trees. The rain was the dancers falling and moving in time to the song, and together it was the most breathtaking show the world had ever seen.

One particular stormy day is forever etched in my memory. Not because it was devastating, no this stormy day was beautiful. On this day I was told a story by my Uncle. He had been staying with us for several days and he had a soft spot for me. He knew that I loved stories, fairy tales most of all, and he was determined to indulge me.

The day began with rain, light rain at first and talk of a storm throughout the week was heard across town but in school that day talk of the storm was overshadowed by something else. Among the primary students there was talk of an eclipse. “Eclipse? What’s an eclipse” I thought to myself. According to a Grade Three classmate it was when the moon disappeared. “The moon can’t disappear,” I said.

“But it will, just you wait. My brother said it would happen tonight,” my classmate replied.

So I went about my day distracted by this approaching awesome lunar event. How does it disappear? Where does it go? Will it come back? Endless amounts of questions ran through my mind. At that point in my life I had never been witness to an eclipse. It was foreign to me, an unknown like so many others. I would have liked to ask someone else about it but I was too shy, despite my ample curiosity. The school day flew by, and the talk subsided while the rain slowly rose to its crescendo. The storm had come and so began the main act.

I spent that afternoon hoping, wishing and praying that the rain would go away. I sang the nursery rhyme and tried my hand at the “Rain Dance” while I watched the rain pelting down. It seemed to go on forever, never ceasing but like a dance it was reaching its final act.

After dinner I made my way outside, under the veranda waiting with anticipation for the eclipse, counting down to the time the moon would disappear. My Uncle must have noticed me looking at the moon intently never taking my eyes off it. He asked me what I was waiting for and I replied, “The moon’s going to disappear.”

“Oh, Really?” He said, sounding interested. I nodded and continued my vigil. “Do you know how the moon disappears?” He asked. I shook my head still looking at the moon. “I’ll tell you if you want,” he offered. I didn’t reply for a second then I turned to look at him. He must have seen the interest in my eyes because he silently sat down beside me and proceeded to tell his anecdote.

So my Uncle told a tale, the tale about the moon and the black dragon. He said that a black dragon would fly across the sky, swallow the moon whole and the moon would disappear. The dragon was the moon’s friend but he was jealous of the moon because everyone loved her while the people were afraid of him. So one stormy night blinded by his jealousy, the black dragon rose to the sky under the cover of the clouds to eat the moon. After succeeding on his first try, the stars and the sky punished the dragon for his selfishness and greed. The stars and sky brought back the moon and the dragon was forever cursed to eat the moon on stormy nights. Upon realising what he had done the dragon succumbed into a state of depression and when he received his judgement he chose to accept it. To this day the black dragon continues to live with his horrible and misguided mistake.

The story was amazing. I was engrossed and fascinated and not in the least suspicious about its truthfulness. I was now even more excited at the prospect of seeing a dragon and my curiosity surged. Then suddenly my uncle pointed to the sky and shouted, ” Look! ” In that single terrific moment of stargazing I saw a fast moving shadow, swift and darker than the rest. Whether it was a figment of my imagination or not the shadow, or the dragon should I say, swallowed the moon and the moon disappeared. I was shocked. In my young mind I had witnessed the greatest phenomenon of all time; a dragon had swallowed the moon!

I never did see an eclipse that night nor was there an eclipse at all. But as the moon slowly reappeared just as the story foretold, the rain also returned just like a curtain falling on a well-worn stage.

There you have it. The story about the moon and the dragon is not a legend or myth or folk lore. My Uncle made it up on the spot and still I consider it one of my favourite stories. Of course, my younger self didn’t know that and back then I loved it because of the dragon. I mean come on, dragons are awesome. Now I love it mostly because I am in awe of the way he totally invented a coherent and fantastic story in almost an instant.

Photo Courtesy: The Opposing View



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