During World War II when the moon was full and bright illuminating the earth like daylight, reflecting off sea, lakes and rivers like quick silver it was called a ‘bomber’s moon’. Aiding navigation and helping bomber crews zero in on their targets it also made them more visible to the enemy.
“Trish, I can’t find Mum and the back door’s open.”
“It’s alright; she’ll be in the garden, it’s a nice clear starry evening and you know what she’s like.”
“Not tonight, I’ve looked, her coat’s gone too.”
Trish sighed and heaved herself off the settee away from ‘Albert Square’.
“I’m in the kitchen,” shouted Mike.
The remains of a hastily prepared picnic littered the worktops.
“And this empty thermos was in the fridge.”
“Oh, mother, what are you up to. I didn’t take any notice of her earlier. You know how she witters on. She kept saying it was tonight, Dad was coming home and she was meeting him, a picnic beneath the stars, but I just …” her voice trailed off and she shrugged. “She’s been watching the sky for days. The bomber’s moon they called it. I didn’t want to….” She shrugged again. “You know how it is.” She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes, trying to smile and keep her voice strong. “She’ll have gone up to the lake.”
“Is it me or do the stars seem extra bright tonight,” gasped Mike.
“A bomber’s moon,” replied Trish. “Mike, can you hear something?”
“Only my heart thumping and my legs complaining.”
“No, listen, a droning sound, engines, very faint but getting stronger.”
“Bugger that, any sign of your mother yet? You said you knew where she’d be.”
“You see that line of trees? ‘Flyers Wood’ they called it, and just beyond there’s a lake and a big rock. She’ll be there. We used to come as kids, have a picnic, play on the sandy beach and jump in the water from the rock.”
They walked on the few hundred yards skirting the edge of the trees till they could see the lake below. Its waters glistened in the moonlight, the few clouds skittering across the sky giving it a mournful silver sheen.
Mike shivered. “I bet she didn’t bring you up here at night, Trish. And why tonight? What’s a ‘bomber’s moon’?”
“Shush, down there by the rock. There she is.”
The sound of laughter and the clink of glasses was unmistakeable carried on the night breeze.
“Trish, what the hell’s going on. And who’s….”
His words were drowned out in an ear splitting cacophony, the unmistakable roar of engines overhead. The earth reeked of oil and smoke, an acrid stench of burning filled their nostrils and snatched at their throats. Trish stumbled downhill towards the beach screaming as she ran, “Mother, mother!”
“Oh hello dear, I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight. I’m afraid there’s only crumbs left but there’s a drop of wine. Sidney, do the honours? Sidney, where’s Sidney? We were only dancing a moment ago. We loved to dance. He was here, Trisha. Dad, Sidney. He came back. This time he came back. It’s a bomber’s moon you see.”