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The sun was directly overhead but would soon bow to the moon. She was preparing the garden. All the moonlight blooms and a few poisonous ones locked away behind wrought iron gates would dazzle at nightfall. Shasta daisies, snow-in-summers, white lavender, and gardenias, all in luscious whites, would be perfect by candles and moonlight. There was a tableside herb bed for plucking leaves to crush fresh onto the various foods and drinks. There were candles all around, visible in the day, but enchanted and glowing in darkness. More important, they were there to blow out at the end and cast her and her guests’ dreams to the wind.

She placed freshly braided flower chains and crowns of buttercups and dandelions to keep the youth within her friends. They needed freedom and mirth tonight. A release of the old and fresh gasp of new into them. She shook her head, staring at the heaping pile of lemons. No tincture had ever held so many, she thought, as she began slicing and squeezing them, the juice sluicing into the pitcher as much as over her fists. She smiled at its stickiness and its racy odor that smelled of summer. She set aside the peels and took a purple tincture. She opened it, and lavender shivered over her. She poured in the liquid, and instantly the yellow shimmered with purple. As she poured in fresh spring water it was clear that the potion was meant to show the turning point of the sun giving way to the evening of the moons. There would be peppermint leaves to crush and slide over the top of the elixir.

She placed the pitcher into the ice chest and took out the violet liqueur. Only a few sips and each guest would be adrift in violet haze, bathed and ready for perfect moon magic. She had scones with love folded into the butter and all types of cookies and candies ready to represent sunlight and moonlight mixing. She tasted a cut strawberry rolled in sugar, the crystal grit melting on her tongue and the whipped cream ready to be dolloped nearby. There was never a more sensual or simple dish, she thought.

Each place setting was perfect. The flowers were arranged as best as she could. Rose and lavender sun tea was brewing, and it was time for her own magic rituals. A salt soap and rose-petal bath waited for her. She re-emerged near sunset. The sun had flown so quickly. The waxing moon was ascending in all her glory, taking her rightful place among the heavens. She stood shimmering in the lightest lilac shift that pooled at her feet as no goddess’s could.

Her guests began arriving, each one in fanciful bangles and gowns, each ready to get out of the evening what they needed. She promised a respite. With gossamer all sitting around her table, she placed ice in the elixir and the violet liqueur into small glasses. Soon the candles were glowing, and the gardenias were practically lit as well. As each guest sat, they found a silvery package. They were quickly instructed not to open them until later.

Everyone donned their flower crowns and necklaces and laughed as they celebrated children and children yet to be—and their own continued childhood. The moon radiated over them when at last they were finished eating and could undo their presents. Each guest found a box wrapped in a silver scarf. They immediately placed the scarves around their shoulders. In each box was parchment, a small candle, and two lavender-dipped matches. She passed out pens with instructions of what to write. Some wrote their deepest desires, others limericks with laughter. She wrote, “I want intense, deep partnership and friendship and the creativity to cast us into the stars.”

She showed them how to make their parchment into boats. She added a few flowers to them as she saw what they needed. Rose and lavender for love and peace were the most necessary. A pinch of black salt in hers for protection. There was hush as they went to the stream. She helped each one strike their matches and sail their boats down the stream where they pooled at a crevice. The boats soon lit on fire, and everyone gasped, knowing their dreams were released into the universe.

On their return to the garden, her guests were greeted by fireflies and knew that even their most extravagant wishes were twirling out right now in the cosmos. They finished the night with ice water and moonlit strolls through the garden—with giggles and giddiness. They wrote their names with sparklers and with newfound lightness. There was a silver shimmer over their hair that grew as the night went on. As each guest left, she blew out a candle. No snuffing them for her. Let the smoke take dreams into the wind. Finally she was by herself. The dishes could wait until morning. She blew out the last candle. This wish was hers.


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Kim Malinowski
Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her MFA from American University. She studied with the Writers Studio. Her work appears in Mythic Delirium, Enchanted Conversation, Eternal Haunted Summer, and Three Drops From the Cauldron, among others. Her chapbook, Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Visit artist and photographer Courtney Brooke online at