Astronomy

Reads: 198  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
"Maybe you are the moon. You are bigger and brighter and you eclipse me."

Submitted: July 30, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 30, 2008

A A A

A A A


It was August.  I wish I could say that I remember the date because Mars was visible to the naked eye, this close to the moon.  That was August 14.  But I can’t say that.  It’s not because of Mars.  It’s because of you.
It had been 9 months.  9 months, like a pregnancy; a painful, solitary pregnancy; one full of complications.  Complications like you wanting something and then deciding that you didn’t really want it anymore.
Mars was high in the sky, near the moon, but not nearly as large or bright.  And you stand under the moon, back lit; a beautiful, dark silhouette.  I can see the outline of your nose, your lips, your jaw.  Your face is dark, but I know everything about it anyway; the shape of it, the texture.  It is beautiful.  
“You are beautiful in the moonlight.”  
I think that was something you said to me once.  A different night.  It was something I would have fallen for, in a different colder month.  In December.  I remember that night too.  We stood on the same steps saying the same things.  But not this night.  Well, you were there.  You should remember, even though you told me that you don’t really remember what you said that night.  I don’t believe that.  Some things you just can’t forget.  At least I can’t, no matter how hard I try.
I see you there; something that is not new to me.  I see you everywhere now.  I see you in the reflection of one of those windowed buildings downtown.  I smell you, the laundry detergent you use, the singular scent of your skin and hair.  I hear you, the sound of your voice saying my name just before I fall asleep.  But none of those things is you.  Not anymore.  Not after tonight.  They are only spectres.  Phantoms.  Ghosts.  They are illusions.  They are not you.  And I hate it.
You ask me if I hate you.  It comes out of no where.  
I have one hand on the telescope, because I am trying to get Mars back in the viewfinder after you knocked it.  Maybe you were nervous or something.  I hear the words, quiet and soft and barely audible in the still, silent, summer air.  I want to look at you.  Maybe I will say “yes” and leave it at that.  Maybe I will scream at you.  Maybe I will punch you for asking me such a stupid question.  But I can’t do any of those things, and you know it.  I can’t even look at you, so I stare at my hand on the telescope; my shaking, trembling hand that is soon half-covered by one of yours.
“Please, say something?”
But I can’t say anything yet.  If I could, I would ask you who the fuck you think you are, touching me like that.  You have no right.  You have no right and I want to tell you.  But I don’t.  I never can say what I really want to.
“No.  I don’t hate you.”  I sigh.  I am angry with myself that it’s the truth.  I should have followed it up with something like “to hate you, I’d have to care about you.”  But instead I say, “I tried to, but I couldn’t.  I wanted to, so much.  Didn’t work that way though.”  
I stopped.  I probably said too much.  I shouldn’t have told you the truth, but there is some part of me, a large part actually, that still loves you.  That is what really makes me want to hate you.
“Look, I -”
I lift my head and silence your excuse before it can become a reason.  Before I hear it and want to believe it.
“Don’t.  Please.  I’m so tired of this…aren’t you tired of this?”
Your hand moves from mine to wipe across your face, like you’re sweating or tired.  Like you were sorry you’d said anything.  And you probably were.  But I know we haven’t spoken a word of it, like we were trying to pretend it never happened.
“You have to talk to me.  No excuses, no lies, no bullshit.  Do you remember how to do that?”  
You say nothing but you don’t look away from me, and I’m glad.  For once you weren’t going to run and hide from me when I asked you a direct question.  Have you changed without me noticing?
I start.  I have to tell you what it has taken me three-quarters of a year to realize.  I have to talk about my feelings, what I really feel.  I have to tell you how much you hurt me.  And all of these things start to pour out of me unprepared and hesitant.  I don’t think you want to hear them all, but I say them because you need to hear them.  Or maybe it’s because I need you to hear them.  I guess we were both bad at being straight with one another.  
But I never lied to you.  I always meant it when I said I wanted to be with you.  At least you could have told me that you wanted out.  You could have told me that things had changed.  But you didn’t.  Yeah, I would have been hurt, but it would hurt a hell of a lot less than this does.  You had me for a while, because you told me it was what you wanted.  I was what you wanted.  Until it inconvenienced you.  Until you changed.  Until you shed me as easily as glue peels off of school children’s palms.  
I think then of the sky we're standing under, while I am saying these things to you and I wonder why it takes the universe so long to change when you can change overnight.
You don’t say anything the whole time, and it makes me nervous.  I’m not sure why.  I guess because I’m afraid that you’re going to come back with some startlingly awful revelation about me.  I’m afraid that you’re going to bring up something horrible that I did to you and broadcast it to the world, making me look like the bad guy.  And I’m not.  I mean, sure, I’m not perfect.  But I never lied to you and I never cheated on you, and I would have never done to you what you’ve done to me.  I pay close attention to your body as your hands rise to your chest and then fall back down to your sides.  Your mouth opens like you’re going to say something, but then you close it again.  Good I think.  I want you to be nervous and scared and worried.  I want you to shake and fall apart right in front of me so that you know how I feel.
And then.  “I’m sorry.”
I nod.
“I’m so, so sorry.”  
I nod again.  Of course you are.  People are always sorry when they get caught.  People are only sorry when they get caught.  It’s not like those words are some grand revelation to me.  They don’t change anything.  To be sorry, to really be sorry, means that you are truly repentant of your actions and will never do them again.
And I knew you would.  
“I never stopped thinking about you.  The whole time – it’s all just so fucked up, you know?  And when she came back – you have to understand…”
I don’t nod.  I shake my head the opposite.  “No.  I don’t understand.  I don’t understand at all.  I would have never done that to you, and you know it.”  My voice is monotonous, level, unemotional.  I will not let one shred of my inner turmoil into this conversation.
“But that’s just it!  I’m not like that.  I’m not who you think I am – I don’t do this!”  I wonder if you know how stupid that sounds.
“Yes you do.  Maybe you didn’t do it to her, or to anyone else for that matter.  But you did it to me.”
Quiet again.
“Okay.  I hurt you.  And I’m sorry.  I am sorry.”  You sigh and run your hands through your hair.  I wonder if you know this is hopeless.  “I just want to take it all back and start over.”
I want that too.  But only secretly and somewhere that will never ever find the light of day, somewhere you can‘t find.  Wishing that things are different doesn’t help.  It just makes me hurt more knowing that it’s impossible.  The truth is that we can’t go back.  We can only go forward.  Together, or not.
I say that and you nod.
“I never want to hurt you like that again.”
“I don’t think you’ll get the chance to.”  It’s not what I wanted to say, but it’s the smart thing to say.  It’s the thing that’s going to keep me alive.
You nod again, like it’s all that you can do.  And we stand dumbly.  I don’t know what to do now, so I look at my hand again.  It’s still on the telescope, but I’m not shaking, so I bend over and try again to find Mars.  But I can’t.  I search all around the moon, but the moment is lost, and Mars has faded into the myriad of stars, and planets that look like stars, and satellites and cosmic debris.  And I can finally see that Mars doesn’t want to be found.  So I sigh instead and stand back up, and realize that I really don’t have anything else to say to you now.  
Maybe you are the moon.  You are bigger and brighter and you eclipse me.  Most of the time we are far away from each other, world’s away from each other.  And it’s a big sky, and the more I try to find ways to make it smaller, the more I try to make it familiar and safe and constant, the bigger it gets.  It is not mine to control.  So we will spin away from each other and gravitate towards other things and discover places that we’ve never been before, until everyone, including us, forgets how close we were.  Once.
We are two different bodies.  
“What do you want me to say here?”  
And that’s just it I guess.  There is nothing to say.  All that I’ve left to do is walk away.
So maybe I do.


© Copyright 2017 Nadine Adair. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Nadine Adair

Popular Tags