Once Upon A Time, I Thought I Saw The Moon Smile
In the house I grew up in my brothers' bedroom window faced the direction of the rising moon. I don't recall what brought me into their room that night. It was a winter night. The aroma of cooking food filled the house. The television droned words I did not understand and did not care to understand. I was little then. Mostly, I was lost in the crowd - there were seven of us kids at home back then - and I think I just blended in and went largely unnoticed most of the time. This winter night must have been one of those nights when I was simply part of the furniture, for my siblings' attention was on the black and white image on the television. It might have been, "The Honeymooners" or the "Evening News With Walter Cronkite." I can't remember. My mother was in the kitchen. She hated cooking and did it only because it was necessary (that I remember well). We were not allowed in the kitchen when she was cooking.
Maybe it was boredom, or maybe I had to go pee - the reason escapes me - but I left my siblings to the cathode babysitter and found myself in my brothers' room. The light was off, yet I could see the two sets of bunk beds against the opposite walls, could see Tim's guitar leaning against the corner by one of the bunk beds. Their room was always neat and tidy; our mother wouldn't have it any other way or there was hell to pay. The boys' room always smelled like Dixie Peach and Old Spice, cigarette smoke, and faint gasoline fumes. The Dixie Peach belonged to Tim (he was in his Elvis phase). The Old Spice, cigarette smoke and faint gasoline fumes were courtesy of Mike who was working at a gas station. The two youngest boys, Tom and Patrick were too young to have aroma-producing products of their own, but their toys were on their beds: a black and white police car at the edge of Tom's top bunk, and a discarded plastic stethoscope on Patrick's lower bunk. Before he became an artist, Patrick wanted to be a doctor.
Children have dreams for the future. I had plenty of aspirations, and I spent a lot of time daydreaming about my future when I would be a famous actress. I have a theory about children who spend a lot of time daydreaming. I think those children are actually more sensitive to the minutest nuances of their environments than other children. I base this on my own experiences. I have always been able to walk into an empty room and feel the left-over mood energy of the previous occupant. If there had been conflict, I felt it. If there had been sadness, laughter, serenity, I felt it. My brothers' room felt strangely calm this night.
Yes... strangely calm for a room shared by four boys. After a few moments, the pale white shadows upon the contents of the room gave me a hint as to why. I looked to the window that, until then, I did not know faced the rising moon. Tonight the moon was full and all its far-away details distinct. And, oh... the moon emitted a calm blanket over the world - that's how it seemed to me. It was the moon, yes, the moon that sent serenity into this room. I stepped very lightly to the window and leaned my elbows upon the sill, touched the cold glass with my fingertips. The air outside was frigid, yet the moon that looked down upon me seemed warm. If I could have touched the moon, it would have been warm.
The sight of it held me rapt. So beautiful, so utterly beautiful, beyond words beautiful. A gleaming white being in the black canvass of sky. So bright it obliterated the lights of the stars. The moon shimmered. It seemed alive. I thought it was alive - at that age I had no idea the moon was simply a big ball of dead rocks. But, damn it, it was alive at that moment. I could feel it staring back at me as if it had consciousness, and I wished it could talk. I wanted to know what it had to say. What did my house look like from his ancient eyes? (Yes, the moon was a male as far as I was concerned.) Could he tell me about my future? In my thoughts, I greeted him as I would any respectable adult. He returned silence, but it was a compassionate, loving kind of silence, like when someone wordlessly takes your hand and holds it when you're sad.
His face, the details so distinct, seemed to change expression. For a split second, I thought I saw him smile like my mother smiled when I did something good.
You see me, Old Moon...
After that, I would visit that window now and then just to visit with the moon.
I never told anyone.