Elegant, desirably plump Felicity Moss sits on the edge of the tub, gazing at the razor in its charger. The early morning sun’s rays shine through the window. Still in her evening gown, she reaches for the razor, looking into the mirror’s reflection of the bedroom. She calls softly, “It’s ready, my darling.”
Alfred Manning stands in the bathroom entrance in an earnest manner. Standing He stands tall, shoulders back, fingers rubbing his chin. He turns to the window. Felicity removes the razor from the charger and hands it to him. He admires the way the light moves with her gown. She walks toward him and rubs the front and back of her hand on his unshaven cheeks. Still sleepy, he kisses her hand, takes the razor, and turns to face the mirror. She faces the mirror, too, raising her fingers to her face, gently following its shadows and lines.
“Time to return,” she says sternly while glancing over at Alfred. She adds in a clean, clear tone, “Look at this, at us. These eyes.”
Looking at the window, she hums a gentle tune. Alfred adjusts the razor for a close trim. Her face cream is next to him; he looks down at it and slides it to her.
“Thank you, my darling,” she says briskly. “Don’t forget to put the razor back in the charger when you’re done.”
Placing the razor against his cheek, he watches her wash her face, admiring each movement of the cloth against her perfectly smooth, firm, olive skin..
“When are we going on that trip?” she asks in her clean, clear timbre. “Will you come if we travel to the mountains?”
Brushing her short, black hair, and with giving a delightful laugh, she walks into the bedroom. Posturing along the edge of the bed, she continues brushing her hair. Alfred follows, sits next to her, and continues to shave.
“Tell me, my darling: how long will Samuel stay in the beach house?”
He turns off the razor, takes the brush from her, and continues brushing her hair.
“I’m not certain.” He holds her hand and puts it against his cheek for her inspection. “How was he with you?” he asks in a begrudging tone.
“Samuel was a gentleman, my darling. We danced all night only because you were engaged elsewhere. Besides, I believe he loves another.”
Curious, Alfred leans back onto the bed. “Oh? What makes you say that?” Felicity leans into Alfred with a loving embrace.
“Woman’s intuition, my love. It’s just the way he was. I can’t quite put my finger on it. When I asked him about the ladies in his life, he just shrugged his shoulders. He said he’s taking a sabbatical from dating. Are you aware that Samuel hasn’t been on a date since you introduced me to him? Remember, it was the weekend that Rose was with us at the beach house. She came to see how I was doing before she left for Africa. It was Christmas 2007. She and Luc were very close. It was the second anniversary of his—”
He kisses her with a full embrace. “Next time, it’s just you and I who’ll go dancing.” Alfred gets up from the bed to get his jacket. Reaching into its pocket, he pulls out a photo. “What a sight!” he scoffs. “This lunatic with his arm around my shoulder, pretending to be my best friend. Can you believe it? Rose is back in Africa, isn’t she? Why didn’t Samuel go with her? He only went that one time. He hasn’t been back since.”
“He is your best friend,” says Felicity as she takes the photo for a closer look.
“The last time Samuel and I spent this much time together was in boarding school in England. I was fifteen when my parents told me we had to move to Canada.” Alfred walks to the open window and looks out. “The sea is calm today. Let’s go sailing.”
“He danced with me all night. He has an opinionated yet seductive stare. Does he know?”
“Felicity, you are the female version of the character in Camus’s The Stranger—you are Meursault in many ways. Your choice made you appear indifferent to humankind, a soulless mother incapable of mourning the death of her child, who died at her hands. You had a choice to make, and you chose love and your compassion for life to save Luc. You did what he desired. Assisted suicide was his choice. Your choice will not be revered but shunned by those who feel and believe that they must live in judgment of others. You unwillingly live your life as you see it must be, not by those who tell you how it should be. Remorse is not an emotion you accept, and for this you will always, as Meursault did, await your death while others try to direct you to repent and atone with God. It is their ignorance, my love, that blinds them from seeing that you never turned away from God but toward him, which is what gave you the strength and courage to give your son his final wish.”
She remembers finding Luc on the floor, covered with vomit and shit, begging her to kill him. His bed was soaked with blood-red piss. She recalls how she felt, her will to keep him alive broken. How she drew him a bath, and he screamed for her to kill him. How she remained silent as she removed his clothing. Dragging him to the bathroom and lifting his heavy body into the tub, strapping him in so he didn’t sink into the now-soiled water and drown.
A confused Luc, hoping she would let him drown, screamed with frustration. “I fucking hate you! Why are you doing this to me? Fucking kill me!”
Felicity, in her silence, walked back into the room to clean the bed. Her head back, she took long inhales, holding her breath to avoid the stench that burned her nostrils. Back in the bathroom, she lifted Luc out of the tub and onto a towel on the floor. Luc was filled with hate toward his mother for not letting him drown. She dried him as he continued crying for her to help him.
“Watching what was
A figure appears
A mirror reflection of the soul’s appeal,
A chance to see
A chance to greet
A chance to be . . .”
Felicity Moss is a starlet with a tragic past. Desperate to stay out of the judgmental gaze of the limelight, she disappears from public life. She finds new hope in the forgiving love of a noble man, but he has his own demon—Samuel, an old friend and a new threat. The riddle of choices surrounding life and death teases and taunts with the ebb and flow of the tides upon the shore. How long can one keep others from discovering private sins?
Filled with mystery and intrigue, The Tragedy of the Moth is a captivating tale of the theatrical world that enthralls with its poetic prose, scripts, supernatural folklore, and stream of consciousness asides. It’s a mind-bending tour de force about love and tragedy driving forward to a crashing finale.
Inspired by her personal relationships and life experiences, Suzanne Mondoux is a self-taught writer of poetry, plays, sceenplays, prose, and is the author of the novel How I Became a Dragon.
She is a Canadian who has lived and worked in various West African countries and holds an MS in environment and management.