Zuzu decided he would take it upon himself to get the moonshine for their Uncle Billy.
So every night he would take out the jar and collect his own moonshine. It seemed to do the job and Uncle Billy never touched another drop of alcohol.
Zuzu’s feet were always bare and muddy. On hot summer nights, they would sneak down to the pond at the bottom of their garden and listen to the frogs. Alone now, she looked up at the moon as she walked back to the house. The jar pressed tightly between her shaking hands. She was desperate to be back inside with Zuzu. The door to the house stood open. Her home felt full of strangers now. They were all praying, or crying. They looked up when she entered, but they couldn’t see her. Without Zuzu by her side, she was invisible.
Her mother had not left her bed in days and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could never put her Daddy back together again. She wanted all the people to go back to their own homes. Sister Clare explained that people used to always keep their loved ones in the house before the funeral. A ‘viewing’ is what Sister Clare called it. So that people could say goodbye.
She slipped into the room where Zuzu lay for the viewing. She noticed that the window was open. She thought that Uncle Billy might have opened it, so that Zuzu could hear the frogs down by the pond.
Muddy footprints staining the wooden floor. Uncle Billy had convinced her mother to bury Zuzu with bare feet. Sister Clare had told her mother that there was no dress code in heaven.
She glanced in at Zuzu. Ignoring the coldness of his tiny body, she tucked the jar beneath his arm. As she moved away, something else caught her eye. She held her breath. The jar was not empty. She looked again, sure of it now. There was something in there. It fluttered and floated like a fragile dancer, captured in the candlelight. The frogs serenaded Zuzu. Hypnotised, she stared into the jar. Filled with awe and wonder, the grief left her for a moment.
She was aware that Uncle Billy was now standing in the doorway. He was looking at the muddy foot prints. Then he looked up at Zuzu. His bloodshot eyes, wider now. She knew by the silly look on his face, that he too could see what was in the jar. Their eyes met. Uncle Billy wept.
“ Moonshine,” she grinned.