A journal of narrative writing.
The Woman with the Halo

Most folks make fun of the woman with the halo and call her names like Moon Lady and Bug Lamp. It’s the way she glows on summer nights and can’t help attracting insects that makes them gawk and snicker. The bugs swarm around her head, hissing, sizzling, and popping to their deaths when they fly too close. But the farmers always come to her defense. If it weren’t for the haloed lady, they say, the insect infestations would ruin the annual fruit crop. Scientists and journalists pester her from time to time, pressing her with inquiries, hoping to identify the properties of halo-bearing. She tells them how the magnitude of the halo is greater than the force it takes to carry around so much light—in other words, it’s less dangerous than it looks. True, a halo is not without its risks, but as long as it clings tightly to her head, she represents only a minimal fire hazard. The real difficulty, she explains, is being so indelibly visible. She wishes she could simply blend in and hide her light inside herself as others do, or keep it under the proverbial bowl, though that metaphor never really worked for her despite the fact that her mother made her a sleeping bowl out of oven-proof ceramic rimmed with silicone handles for easy removal. Not long after receiving the gift, she rolled out of bed, shattering the bowls and setting the hem of the bedspread on fire as the halo burst free. These days when she can’t sleep, and she often can’t (it’s so hard to sleep with the light on like that), the haloed woman stands outside on the street, glowing like a human star. Excuse me, she says to anyone within earshot. Would you like a light? Rare passersby stop and say, yes. They lean toward her halo with their unlit cigarettes and linger for a moment, puffing smoke in her face and shooting the breeze. These are the happiest moments in the haloed woman’s life, the moments when she chats and feels okay just being here on earth. That’s when she imagines herself as soothingly forgettable as any stranger, insomniac, or secondary character in a novel who can easily dissolve into the world like sugar in hot water.