Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Just" the Moon...

So I wrote this a while ago and gave it a little face lift...I think it probably needs another one... but oh bother :)


She was not necessarily a loner, rather, it was simply more often than not she found herself alone.  Even then it wasn’t entirely bad.  She was, like everyone else, but, for the most part, everyone else didn’t know that. In fact they didn’t always remember her name.

With a sigh she tossed her phone onto her bedside table.  Once again a thorough search of her contacts found no one for a night like this.  She groaned.  How was she even laying on her bed?  It had to be a hundred degrees in the mobile park, much less inside one of these little tin cans still holding heat from the muggy summer day inside. 

Summer.  Summer was for being young.  Summer was for living.  For driving, and talking, and—many things, but not tonight.  The air was thick with sticky humidity which made moving feel like swimming and breathing very similar to drowning. 

“One,” she sighed, not quite ready she relaxed in her bed.  Now, a moment later she counted, “one, two, three,” after which she dragging herself upwards.  Standing she groped around in the dark a minute searching.  With a few bumps and clatters she pulled on her boots. 

“Where are you go—” she slammed the door. Not tonight.  Language was impossibly difficult,  “No, please.” She couldn’t think of anything else to say to the voice from inside the van. 
Before long she was running.  Why was she wearing boots?  She scorned her stupidity as the new blisters started to form.  Idiot, she thought.  The leaves crunched underfoot creating a roar the moment she stepped off the asphalt of the park into the woods.  Her hair swung wildly about her face, in front of her eyes.  It stuck there, clinging to her sweaty skin.  Somehow doing so always engaged her.  It was suffocating.  Clawing and struggling with her hair as she went she was propelled faster.  Onward.  More.  She urged her legs to continue.  She couldn’t feel the blisters any more, she couldn’t hear the leaves under foot.  Then she saw, it.

The lake with all of its cool and invitation was out stretched before her.  Just a few more trees, a few more paces, she was there.  Her breath was hard and she was still suffocating under her hair, under the air, under her own skin.   She slowed, walking out from the safety of the trees into the light of the moon. 

She felt suddenly under examination, where once she had been a wild thing, she was no longer.  Now she stood in light, her damp pink tank top, her jeans cut to shorts, and beaten boots holding throbbing feet, the cracked nail polish, the makeup running down her face; this was her.  She stood and it pained her.  She was alone to slinking eyes, to those who could still be in the dark, but worse she was visible to the light and her own suddenly open eyes.  She was watched by the harvest moon.  It was ever so far, and near.  Its yellow light was almost like daylight, glinting off her sweaty skin.  It lit the lake as a perfect mirror, the stillness of the wind passed hardly a ripple.
She walked to the water’s edge as though she were in church.  Her shoulders removed from any poor posture and her head held none too high.  Below was also the scene above, the stars and moon and trees over head all resided in the dark water’s reflection.  She stood a moment in awe, losing herself in the world above and forgetting below, forgetting which one she was a part of.  She was, really, somewhere in between, the waters cool at her feet and the silent space above.
Something flashed into her sights.  She leapt back from the water’s edge falling back into the dust.  Her heart was in her stomach, and her stomach in her throat, as the happy illusion vanished from her mind.  She crawled to the edge again. The despair of her knowledge was all that remained.  Again, the flash of yellow returned.  She looked down at her own reflection.  She was a pitiful thing.  It was her hair, once again, which gave her away.  Her long bleach yellow waves, were frizzy and deflating.  Stray hairs poked out everywhere and stuck to her sweaty skin, topped off with an inch of brown hair growing from the roots.

Filthy blouse, filthy skin, filthy hair—tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed on.  Nothing could tear her from the picture below.  It was the dream, the glory all growing dim to her image.  She watched as the beauty around her blurred and her eyes filled again with tears emptying into the pool and distorting the other-her as well. Trash. She was lost in her misery a little longer; her shoulders shook with emotions she choked down into silence.  Silence on the water, that’s what she had come for, and why was she ruining it?  Finally she could remain silent.  She had captured her sorrows once more within herself; once more she could take part in the silence of the night. 
But the silence did not resume.  Silence was broken.  Silence was filled with anguish.  She looked out on the glass of the lake to see, a boat.  It was a thin sailing skiff, ironic, seeing as there wasn’t a breath of wind within a hundred miles.  At the front of the boat perched a boy, or a man—a male.  He was doubled over and shirtless his shoulders slinking up and down to a cry which split across the humid air.  He groaned his chest releasing a burden making his well defined ribs sag beneath his skin.  His gangly arms dropped from holding his head, stretching out to the waters below.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” his weeping had grown softer, weaker. 

She knelt at the water’s edge, watching.  Listening to the silence wrestling with the sound, of the man in the boat, was chilling and intimate.  It was to witness what she should not have seen, but saw.  This moment with the silence and the man was as though the earth rotated from that point, perhaps that even the moon seemed to stand in witness to the figure on the boat.  Slowly the sound continued, in waves in rhythms, it pounded.  It refrained only to return with a thunder, a violent rebuttal, was defeated only to return in rage.  His cries were not a mere escape from his lips but a song, a story he told of a soul who refused to stand still.

After watching on for some time she felt as though she had known him, as though she was a part of the song itself an no longer an intruder but one of the honored guests like the trees and the water.
“Why,” she called out a moment.  Her voice cracked from its sudden us.  She regretted the sound the moment she spoke, so foreign so unwelcome in this beautiful story.

The crier cease, she regretted her actions even more so.  He sniffed, taking a deep breath with all the time in the world.  He turned his head over his shoulder to see the person who had spoken behind him.

“Why what?” he sniffed again, his nose obviously still effected by his tears.
She shook horrified, what had she done? What had she wanted to ask in the first place?  She stood before speaking, “why are you crying?”

The man leapt from his seat at the tip of the boats bow towards the center.  The moon revealed him even more frail and sunken, his rib cage heaving visibly beneath the surface.  “Why do I cry,” his eyes looked to heaven, to the moon who shone down on him.  “Why do I cry,” his voice cracked and his eyes were once again filled with tears, he stretched his gangly arms out to the sky, “I cry” he said with his voice barely stifling sobs below, “I cry, because, because I was once in a storm.”
He stood longer looking up at the moon his arms grasped from behind him the boats mast and rigging.  He leaned back on it so to look even higher above his head.

“I was once in a storm,” the aguish in his voice was overwhelming cracking with a definite snap.  He turned to the mast and pushed with all his might, running then to the other side he pushed again.  The boat remained eerily still as he now jumped from one side of the boat to the other.  With a shriek he said, “I once was in a storm but there’s no wind now.”
He collapsed to the floor of his boat his head buried in the crook of one arm while the other dragged in the water. 

“I was once in a storm,” he yelled with all his might, “and I once was so, so scared.  Because he was a god, and I loved him.  I was trying so, so hard to get to shore.  I once was a sailor, and the seas were so high.  I thought,” his sobbing resumed a moment, he paused, “I thought I was going to die.”

“But you didn’t die,” her voice called out across the still lake, “you’re here now, it’s calm.”
“I was so scared, and the waves were so big and strong.  My arms,” he held them out again to her, while still sitting in the boat, “my arms were so tired and my back was so weak, and I couldn’t go any further—and I loved him.”

“I was so scared,” said this looking straight into her eyes, into eyes that rarely were looked into.  He grew more serious, “I thought I might even lose my boat.” He paused to let his words of ultimate dread sink in.  “I thought I would, but he was sleeping.”

He stood looking again at the moon then at her his smile through tear stained eyes was an anguish all its own, a victory held between his parted lips, taking all their strength to express it, “SLEEPING! Can you imagine?”  He let out a small empty laugh.

Something in his smile held her in rapture; she spoke without thinking “in a storm?”

“Yes,” he laughed again, “he slept in that boat, while my back broke, while my arms grew tired—when I thought we might die! He slept.  He slept so peacefully, so happily—I don’t know if he was often happy, often he was so burdened—he was, so good to me.  But when he slept, he was, he was,” he stumbled around for words, the tears still streaming down his face, “he was so tired, and so strong, and I wanted to get him to shore.  He was rapped tight in a blanket—we used to call him a sleeping kitten.  But I guess no one was calling him that then.”

The man sighed, his eyes were already there.  Far from the girl, and the boat.  Wherever it was, it played out before him, retelling the old tale again and again.  “He was sleeping, and I thought for sure we would die, but someone---someone  woke him up.  They woke him! And  he turned from them and walked,” he stood saying this returning to his perch, “he stood right here, where the waves rocked the most, and he,” the man continued the reenactment, “he stretched out his arms wide—so the whole storm could see him.”  His hands fell to his sides and he turned to the girl on shore again.  “I don’t know what he said, I doubt he had to say anything, but when he stretch out his arms,” his voice dropped to a whisper, “silence.”
He let out a new cry, a rebuttal of all rebuttals, a vengeance and a sorrow too deep to be haphazardly spoken in his story.  It was overwhelming him, engulfing him, he was fighting it as much as he rode on the anguish that filled his heart.

“Peace.  It was so sweet, my arms were no longer worried, my back could rest against the boat, I could get him to shore. But peace,” he struggled to keep his cries under breath, “but peace is so still, and the storm was so big—I thought we were going to die—but he was,” he looked up at the moon gazing from a slightly higher position, “YOU were here!”  He screamed falling backwards to lean against the mast.

“But you’re safe, you got the man to shore.”
“I loved him, O God I loved him.”
“But you did your best, you got to shore!”
“It’s not the storm,” he groaned, “he was there.”
“He calmed it, I thought you didn’t like the storm?”
“He was there when it was peaceful too.”
“So what’s wrong?”

“He is the moon, but I loved him.  He was once sleeping—He was once sleeping in my boat, and I loved him.  He was sleeping,” his grief so overwhelming he could only laugh through his tears, his eyes returned from their far off place to the girl on shore, “he was sleeping, in my boat.  I knew him, and he loved me.”

“Who was he?” she asked.  The man’s wild eyes saw her core, it was as though he knew her too well.  It was as though she had been with him all the time he had wept, as though he knew everything about her, and she him.  And yet some unknowing was painful, her questions just as cruel.
                                                                                     “He was my God,
                                                                                               He is my God,
                                                                                                     and now He is just the moon.”

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