One Tiny Lie – Jennifer Youngblood


Pink and orange ribbons threaded their way across the morning sky, washing it in glorious color. Everything was fresh and new, giving Luna the hope that things might turn out okay, despite her deception. Luna reached for her mug and took an appreciative sip of spicy orange herbal tea as she settled back in her seat. Her lightweight jacket was perfect for this time of the morning. Judging from the cool breeze that kissed her cheeks, Luna guessed the current temperature to be in the low fifties. By midday, it would rise to the upper eighties. While the residents of Sonoma considered that to be sweltering, Luna found the arid heat pleasant, as opposed to the suffocating humidity of Alabama in August.

Her gaze soaked in the gently sloping hills, graced with neat, tidy rows of grapevines, stretching as far as the eye could see. She was too far away to see the clusters of plump red and green grapes that loaded the vines. Harvest time was fast approaching. According to Todd Giles, the founder and owner of the vineyard, the perfect time for picking the grapes would be next Tuesday, starting at eleven p.m. when temperatures were cool.

A mist hung over the vineyard, giving the landscape a magical dewy feel. Even though Luna had only been in Sonoma, California a few short weeks, she was starting to think of this place as home.

It was crazy how much Luna’s life had changed since her vivacious, resplendent identical twin sister waltzed into her life. Luna had been waiting tables at The Muscadine Café in Nashville, Tennessee, writing songs with the slim hope that they might get published one day. Then, out of the blue, she received a private message on Facebook from a woman claiming to be her birthmother. Having lost her adopted mother when she was sixteen, Luna was hungry for a familial connection. Her birthmother set up a time for them to meet at a diner in Atlanta, Georgia. When Luna saw Norma Phillips, a heavy blanket of disappointment fell over her, dashing any hope of a fond reunion. Luna was instantly repelled by the emaciated woman with her hollow, vacant eyes and splotchy, loose skin. With that aversion came pity for the woman’s state, along with a fair amount of anger at having been given up for adoption. Luna had been sitting at a booth across from Norma, trying to figure out what to say to the woman who’d given her life, when Ava sauntered in like a fresh breeze. She, like Luna, had come to the diner at Norma’s request, expecting to meet her birthmother, never dreaming that she had an identical twin sister.

Ava slid into the booth beside Luna, and the two of them listened as Norma shared her story. She’d gone to Nashville in the hope of making it as a singer but had gotten addicted to drugs and alcohol. Norma’s life was the sad, regretful tale of an addict who’d been in and out of rehab numerous times. She explained that she was dying of lung cancer and wanted to make peace with her daughters. As Norma unfolded her story, a heavy gloom descended over Luna. It was bad enough for her to be floundering in her life, but then to realize how tainted and damaged her origin of existence was … well, it was a bit too much to take. Norma had been with so many men that she had no idea who the twins’ father was.

Luna was surprised when Ava reached over and caught her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. The two of them shared a brief look, and Ava smiled in genuine understanding. In that moment, Luna realized that while her birthmother was nothing like she’d hoped, all was not lost. She had a sister! Not just a sister but an identical twin. It was uncanny to look into Ava’s face and see the mirror image of herself.

Norma quietly passed away a week later. Ava was distraught over the death, saying that she wished they’d had more time to get to know her. Luna, however, felt a strange sense of relief that she could finally put the past behind her and move on. Even though Luna’s adopted mother had experienced many emotional ups and downs, Luna loved her with all her heart and missed her terribly. She’d never felt the need to have another mother … that is, until her adopted mother died. Luna had felt the void then, but it was