You gotta work to fit it in
A master plan you can begin
And even if you’re playing games
Best believe you play to win
I’ve got good luck on my side
I’m saddled up its time to ride
The moon rose into the sky, it's white luminescent pockmarked skin beamed and dripped salt water across the face of the earth. It rose, and rose, and rose; slow, but sure as the opening of a flower. Nobody said a word. They just stood in disbelief, staring up into the sky.
Of course this was a very long time ago, and I wasn't there, but Grandmother was, she remembers it perfectly. She says that before the moon ascended, it floated in the middle of the ocean, like an island, and she had a custom of rowing out and spending the evening with the different creatures that lived out on the surface of the moon, and would go exploring in the different caves and crevices.
Grandmother says that she was at the beach with her friends on that particular day, and like everyone else froze solid stiff through the whole ordeal, yet her mind began racing. She says that as the moon climbed high into the sky she had an odd sensation of time passing. Before this moment the thought had never occurred to her, or to anyone for that matter. Did time exist before the moon rose into the sky? Yes, but it had a different meaning back then, like how the Dodo bird now exists as a concept in the human imagination, yet once existed totally independent from any knowledge or projection of the human species. Time, back then, moved forward in a similar fashion to today, but nothing ever changed, anywhere, it was as if everything were a picture that once fit so nicely into a frame; until the moon left the earth and then everything began spinning.
I sat down in the sand, looking out towards the ocean, the shifting and hazy horizon line which I could see clearly, yet couldn't focus on. I tried to imagine the moon floating in the middle of that great dark ocean, glowing white with splendor like a holy land lighting up the night sky. The moon now looked like a button glowing in the dark, so far away and so small that I can cover it with my thumb.
I began heading back into town. I had plans to meet Jean down at Lucky's, the only bar that would still be open after midnight. I walked along the boardwalk which creaked and croaked under my feet, and noticed the rattling and chiming of the chain on the flag pole singing with the wind.
The incandescent lamps lining the boardwalk eventually began illuminating asphalt as I made my way to the main street. Lucky's red horseshoe sign glowed, and could be seen from 2 blocks away. I could never tell if the red light in the night looked welcoming or menacing; a conundrum that was fitting for the character of this particular bar. I walked in, and looked around for Jean.
I was standing by the jukebox since it was the only place where I wouldn’t hear the cackle from the others in the bar. All around me there was scattered debris from town - widowers, dreamers, ghosts and a hopeful few. Some of them I’d known forever, others were new. It always was the same though, they ended up here, around the shabby round tables, when the tide was in and the stars were out. I avoided them all. The smell of hamburgers and anticipation hung low and the lights were as dim as always. The fan in the ceiling made a buzzing sound and whenever a new song was about to start you could, for a brief moment, hear the insects outside buzz to the same rhythm. And then he came through the door. Collar up and the wind from the ocean still in his hair. Even though he was several feet away I knew that he smelled of saltwater and old seaweed. You could see traces of sand on his legs. His gaze moved around and for a split second I got the urge to hide behind something to observe that slender thing without him noticing. I had always liked his way to move - like a tentative cat, a cautious lynx in the wrong environment. And then he saw me. Lightning struck and those dimples, that might have been the only real thing that I had missed while I was gone, appeared. He gave me an awkward wave and then he came over.
”Is that really how you want to start our first conversation since you left?”
”So, what’s up?”
”Beside from the greatest full moon in history - not much. Still here, you know.”
”Yeah, I know.”
Two beers each, a cavalcade of bad choices at the jukebox and we still hadn’t mentioned it. Then he took aim.
”So, why did you come back so soon? Wasn’t the world what you thought it would be? Did you miss us? Miss me?”
It was a perfect hit.
He frowned. ”Can’t we talk about something else? Or even better, let’s go.”
A new song started and someone broke a new game of pool. The sound of the orbs striking the smooth fabric made me feel nostalgic.
”You know where.”
We left the rest of our beers unfinished.