Friday, February 25, 2011

Ridin' into town alone by the light of the moon


It's her first and only love; she only comes alive for those few days when the moon is full. The rest of the month is spent in emotional flat line.

Work and co-workers occupy that same shade of gray that is so easy to mute, like snow on a TV screen.

She only answers questions when someone reminds her there are questions that need to be answered. Other than the that, everything else in her life gets the volume turned down. She's the epitome of what Bob Seger sang about the Beautiful Loser.

There's no great trial or stumbling block in her life; no great passion.

She's just another nine-to-five Jane, working toward a quiet retirement, living out a gray existence, with her own quiet tale of desperation that would be darker, sadder, if so many didn't live the same life.
Her boyfriend of six months is just like you'd picture: entirely forgettable. She doesn't love him, but he is consistent, and he fills up her weekends.

He's the teacher you forget the instant the bell rings. He's disappears in his dockers and button-downs. He's a habit she's gotten used to, like taking the trash out on cold Tuesday mornings. He's a plaid and khaki placeholder.

When she comes home after a long Friday, drinks that first all-important glass of wine, and sighs into the life that she's created for herself, she ends up drinking a whole bottle and most of a second before she passes out. It's entirely unlike her, and her last thought is of the moon.

Waking up the next morning should feel terrible, but other than having a mouth that takes like someone shit in it, she feels fine. In fact, she feels like she's woken up from the dream that is her life, because she knows tonight the moon will be full.

Those nights, she cancels plans with her dough boy of a boyfriend, and spends the weekends alone.

It's harder to just accept the silent disappointment that she lives on those days the moon lights up the sky like a searchlight, calling her, making her take stock of just exactly what she's committed to. The moon seems to illuminate everything she wants to ignore about her own life.

It's just easier to be alone on those nights.

More wine, a couple of cigarettes, and she sits on the balcony of her apartment, surrounded by other worker bees living the same quiet lives of even quieter mediocrity; a hive of unremarkable. No one is loud here, there's a quiet respect of others that somehow underlines the tragedies that her neighbors (and her--she isn't leaving herself out) call life.

She finds herself staring at the moon for hours, only stopping to refill her glass, ignoring her phone with its unremarkable messages.

No great sin, no great tragedy, and that itself seems to be the worst. The endless disquiet of the things she's learned to accept, that inner tree of disappointment growing, knowing you were meant for something better, struggling to believe it, finally realizing that maybe good enough is as good as it ever gets.

Thinking this way, being this introspective is something this time always brings out in her, the way she's never able to satisfy that voice that asks why. It makes her restless, unsettled. Her quiet acceptance tastes like ash in her mouth.

When the moon finally starts to creep out of sight, she decides it's time to go in. After a few more glasses of wine, she undecides that last decision.

She's going to take a walk, to keep this feeling going, this delicious feeling of being alive and awake and aware. She slides into her shoes, pockets her keys, and while she's walking on the sidewalk, heart full, eyes bright, feeling wicked and dangerous, a laugh sneaks out of her.

The strangest thing about the next morning is that she can't remember her walk from the night before. She remembers leaving her apartment, the first few blocks, and then blackness.

There's a kind of dread around the corner of this feeling of awakening, closing in on all sides. The feeling that since she doesn't exactly remember last night, that she did something.

While she's staring moodily around her apartment, another blue and hungover Saturday, she hears a knock at the door.
Maybe her boring boyfriend is coming over for some boring Saturday sex. She continues sitting on the couch and lets him get a little older.

He's persistent, for one thing and when she stomps over to the door and flings it open, she doesn't expect the flowers that are waiting for her.

When she reads the card, it's addressed to her, beautifully masculine handwriting (definitely not from her insignificant other), and the words on the card take her breath away.


I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me,

all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.


Under that, a scrawled signature.

The moon doesn't have its own light, it borrows the light of the sun. The moon goes from total darkness, to illuminating the night sky.

The name that illuminates her is only three letters, but it makes her heart race.



Ben.

14 comments:

Nessa Roo said...

Mmm...that left a yummy taste in my mind.

I like "she undecides that last decision."

light208 said...

Ooooo intriguing. Beautifully crafted as always.

etoile said...

oh my god. This post almost put me into cardiac arrest. My kryptonite's name is "Ben".

http://rantychantykoko.blogspot.com/2011/01/nostalgia.html

becca said...

well done loved it

Trish said...

Gah, way to leave me craving more to this! Loved it.

Robbie Grey said...

This was fantastic. I love the way the words were strung together, and, I confess, I wonder if there will be any more to this tale.

slommler said...

How sad she can't remember but how delicious that "he" sent flowers with those wonderful, seductive words!
Oh how I loved this....beautifully crafted!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Happy Frog and I said...

I lived the 'good enough' life for a while and it was stifling. This post really left me wanting more and I am glad of that.

BMF said...

Very well written. Seeing my name at the end of the post was also a highlight. Wish I was as cool as all that

Fiona said...

You never fail to transport me somewhere else with your words, they wrap around me, they pull me in and *bang* I'm actually there in the moment.

Awesome, Sal, awesome :)

Hugs

Fi
xxxx

Maryx said...

Very well done... kind of mesmerizing actually. I'm a full moon baby myself. I love it! =)

otherworldlyone said...

I'm kind of in awe over this. There are lines in there that I keep reading over and over...because they're that damn beautiful.

Fluid Idleness said...

i love, i love, i love. can't wait to read more :)

ladytruth said...

Very bloody captivating, Sal! Give me some of whatever you're having! Needless to say, you're kind of my writing hero