Hanging the Moon

The Sun and Moon sculpture, from Venice, hangs on my wall as a tribute to me and Larry.  It was our ‘thing’.  He wore a sun charm on a gold chain.  When we fell in love, I gave him a lady-in-the-moon charm, because I told him he brought me into the light.  He was still wearing both the day he died. 

A year earlier, this papier mache sculpture had me and both his daughters in tears in the store in Italy, and it’s a treasure. 

We three Wicked Women (I’m the wicked stepmother, they’re the wicked stepdaughters, and we are the Wicked Women, in the Boston sense of the word) were having a Carnivale adventure together, in Venice, Italy.  Larry was very much with us on that trip.  He slept when we slept, on his side of the planet, and was constantly on one of our phones, texting and video chats and sharing photos.  He talked to waiters and shopkeepers and chefs and the people at our hotel.  We walked him down the twisty alleyways and showed him gondolas and bakeries and the Grand Canal. But our phones were off the evening we entered the mask maker’s little gallery, and we were all thunderstruck by this piece.  Hurried discussions ensued about who was going to buy it, which of us could most appropriately own it, how we were going to share this symbol which had expanded from a love story to embody our blended family so well.

If our family has a crest, this is it.

In the end, it was the stunning price.  I was the only one willing to shoulder that.  The elder immediately found a smaller piece representative of the same sun and moon symbology, and purchased that one for herself.  The younger contemplated for a moment and looked at me and asked, “Could I inherit it?”  Absolutely.  And the transaction was made.  And then she said, “Oh, look.  She is sleeping in his arms.”

And I just died.  In the nicest way.  For years, Larry was unable to sleep lying down.  He would sleep on the sofa, which had recliners built in. And he’d pull a pillow onto his lap, and I would lay there while we watched TV and invariably, I’d fall asleep with Larry playing with my hair or rubbing my shoulders.  (Until a little rock and roll music played.  Then the drummer awoke and I’d find my arms and back and even my head being played like conga drums.  Ha!  I never minded being Larry’s drums.  It made me laugh.  And I’d snuggle back down and go to sleep when the music ended.)  It was a special thing with us, the business of falling asleep against him.  It seems that on his first date, back in high school, he took a girl to the drive-in movies.  She fell asleep against his shoulder during the movie, and Larry came home devastated, and told his mother about it.  She, being a very wise mother, told him that he had been paid the highest compliment, because that girl clearly trusted him enough to be vulnerable in sleep.  So each time I dozed off during whatever movie Larry was watching, he treated it as a compliment, and a testimonial to the trust I had in him.  One day, having shuffled off this mortal coil, I hope to be able to thank his mother for that.

And now, looking at this particular sun and moon, that’s all I see.  His comfort.  Her trust.  Their love.

The purchase made, we had it shipped to Orlando, where Larry was waiting.  It arrived in the States before I did.  He called the moment it arrived.  He was astounded at how perfectly it suited us, as if we had commissioned it ourselves.  

I had the silver star garland all over the tree for what turned out to be Larry’s last Christmas, and was draping over everything in sight, including everything hanging on the walls.  When I took the decorations down, Larry asked, “Can that bit on the sun and moon stay up?  I really like that.”  And there is stays, today.  It’s part of our story. 

I’m so glad I have stars in unexpected places.  They’ve always held more appeal than little hearts.  Hearts are adorable.  Stars just seem to hold the promise of the universe. So adding them to our sun and moon makes the picture complete.

Recently, I returned to Venice.  Alone, I wandered into a familiar looking store and lo and behold it was the exact one.  There was a similar piece on the wall and I asked about the provenance.  I was given the artist’s name and information, and wrote to him about the sun and moon I have.  He responded, “SoleLuna.  The circular shape alone is a symbol of the never ending circle of life. Placing a half moon and half sun inside the circle supplies even more meaning. The sun is often recognized as a symbol of rebirth, strength and power. The moon is associated with the female in many cultures often in the form of a goddess.”  I sent him a photo of ours, complete with the little star garland, and told him a bit of our story.  

This is the first important piece I ever purchased.  SoleLuna.  

Sole.  Luna.  And the stars.  So here at my home, it’s sole luna… e stelle.

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