Zero month


May had been snowy for the last several years and summer arrived only in July, at best.

One day Queen Lana decided to summon the elder synoptic… well, it wasn’t as official as it seems…

When Riff entered the hall, Queen Lana, clothed in well worn patched jeans, woollen socks, and a warm sweater (knit by her grandma, of course!), was seated on her favourite sofa. The two childhood friends hugged and sent a servant to the kitchen to get them some herbal tea.

It was snowing heavily outside, just like in the dead of winter. Nature didn’t care that it was actually May.

“See, Riff? That’s so wrong,” Lana mused as she sipped her tea. “It looks like the all the seasons have shifted.”
“That may be just the case,” the synoptic agreed. “Our calendar is far from perfect.”
“We must do something. It’s not like anyone enjoys snowfalls in May, and when spring is no longer spring and summer is no longer summer everything is a mess. Can you solve it, Riff?”

He did, in a way: by inventing the “zero month”.

The Queen’s heralds carried the news everywhere in the Queendom, announcing that there would be “zero month” after May. It would last 25 days and then be succeeded by June.

Zero month. A month without a name. Unheard of. Unusual. Magical. Lots of people truly believed it was magical, as if someone granted them extra time for real.

The whole Queendom lapsed into quiet. Cities, so busy and crowded before, now were filled with newbie stargazers wandering empty streets. A lot of people left the cities to travel somewhere that they always wanted to. Even the noisy markets hushed up.

Hundreds of eyes contemplated thousands of little things they didn’t have time to notice before: ripples in on the mirror of the lake, the vastness of the sky, the primroses in the snow...

A lot of young citizens walked the snowy parks in pairs, hand in hand, talking, kissing, and then talking some more. They had all the time in the world.

Two northern lords stopped their decades-long feud and made peace. You could see them fishing together every day in the very river they used to fight over.

Day by day the zero month was doing its magic, making life flow and not rush, letting thousands of people breathe freely for the first time in their life, giving everyone time to feel, to dream, to see…

Riff found Lana curled beside the fireplace with a book. He stood there for some time, just watching her, before clearing his throat to announce himself. Lana was beautiful. How come he had never noticed that before? They were both nineteen, and yet they didn’t feel young, having so much serious stuff to do every day. But now, when life had slowed down for a month… Riff smiled at the thought, then laughed. Lana closed the book, surprised, gave her friend a puzzled look and then laughed as well.

“Listen, Lana,” said Riff taking a seat beside her on the sofa, “would you like to go skiing with me? I wanted to ask you for years but we never had the time… But now? Will you go?”
“I will!” Lana almost jumped, happy. “Really, let’s go, right now! Who knows when we will have something like zero month again?”
“I do.” Riff sighed. “I made some calculations and… well, it turns out that we won’t have another zero month for at least 2050 years.”

(May 9, 2003)

Jump to another story:

English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.