Usually when your mate keeps vanishing and feels distant, it means that they're probably cheating. But it turns out to not be so simple in "Companions to the Moon," one of Charles de Lint's many stories set in the magical town of Newford -- in this case, a bittersweet tale of finding out a bit too much about the person you love.
Mary suspects that her partner of many years, a rock musician named Edric, is cheating on her. Not only do they not really do stuff together anymore, but he vanishes every month around the full moon. And though he denies cheating on Mary, she still follows him when the full moon rolls around -- only to uncover a shocking secret that will change both their lives.
And no, it's not werewolves. I won't mention what Edric's secret is, but it doesn't involve any kind of shapeshifting.
Charles de Lint has made a career out of dancing the line between the fantastical and the mundane, in a shadow realm where otherworldly things can and will drift into your life. "Companions to the Moon" is a pretty solid little story in that mold -- we can drift effortlessly from a rock'n'roll concert to a fairy gathering without shifting the tone.
And it brings a fantastical edge to a universal worry: what if my lover is cheating on me? If anything, it would have been nicer to have a story even longer than this, so de Lint could explain and explore the outcome more fully.
The biggest problem with the story was... Mary didn't end up being a very likable character. While she seemed like a fairly relatable person through most of the story, by the end it turns out that she didn't really value her relationship very much. It made her seem bitter and hypocritical.
"Companions to the Moon" suffers from a lead character who ended up losing my sympathy, but otherwise this is a nice, moonlit little example of de Lint's unique style.