I missed the turn. Night falls faster than it did a month ago, quicker than it did last week—I didn’t see Farm to Market Road 3356 when I passed it.
My son was playing music—someone named Regina Spektor, singing about how “we’re living in a den of thieves, rummaging for answers in the pages.”
Three miles later, I noticed a white wood-framed church on the left. “We’re in Weston?” I asked, in high-pitched Texan. I pass the Weston First Christian Church every time I drive to Dallas on the back roads. First Christian is on Chicken Street.
I ranted about the darkness—how it looked like fall outside but still felt like summer. In my heart, I cursed my pre-menopausal hormones, my stress level, my brain, my self. “I can’t believe I missed that turn. What is wrong with me?”
“It was a good song,” Jonny said. “You got lost in it, that’s all.”
Regardless, I was now a woman on Chicken Street looking up at a time-tested church.
I made a U-turn.
Seconds later, the road curved. We were headed east now.
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” I pointed, shaking my finger.
Just above the horizon was the moon. It was big and orange—so orange, oranger than any moon I’d ever seen—rising, glowing, lighting up the sky. We traveled the three miles back, spellbound.
This is why I missed the turn, I’m certain. I needed to see the moon. I needed to know that as I drove in the darkness, something bright and beautiful had been rising up behind me. If I hadn’t lost my way, if I hadn’t turned around, I wouldn’t have known it was there.
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Look at that moon.”
April Pickle lives under a green roof with her husband, four children, and two dogs. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and teaches journalism and literature at a university-model high school. One cold day, when April was in the fourth grade, she closed the car door on her winter coat and, unbeknownst to her or her father, prevented the door from latching all the way. Half a mile down the road, her daddy turned a corner, the door flew open, and she fell out. Thanks to the thickness of the coat, she was unharmed.