It was an almost windless night, only the moon trembling in the pond gave any indication of life. The grass, unmoved for so long, ached to be stirred, and the trees slowly turned to stone, their leaves gouged lower and lower by gravity’s pressure.
The girl turned in her sleep.
Her stomach whined with a latent hunger and she sighed.
Her breath trailed to the open window. The leaves resting there exhaled, shrugging off the stillness, rippling into each other, igniting the grasses, sweeping the landscape into gentle elation.
The girl turned away.
Without her sighs to emanate their dance, the trees were pressed in with sadness. They tried to sigh. They stood there hanging their leaves in shame, in desperation. A lonely cucco warbled. The moon cowered in its hiding place, embarrassed by its own ostentatiousness.
Her stomach whined again, insistent. Her spine started to shake, notch by notch, Cupid was thrumming her body with his pointer finger, drawing the hunger out. The world waited for her breath, her birth.
Violently, he struck the final chord, intoning her into being. Her body hummed, she became sacred. She gasped and the world continued their dance in response, convulsing with her as she languidly writhed in her bed, her back arching into a half moon, shoulders revolving back. Her limbs stretched, spanning previously unreached lengths. Her breasts dilated, and blood pulsed in waves…red, powerful globules, surging against the vein walls, a siege of desire. The trees and grasses exulted and even the moon throbbed with need.
The club-footed boys leer and wipe their sweaty hands as the girls leap around them like impaired flamingos. Preening and prancing, tittering, guffawing, the room is frothing with feathers and possibility, everyone careening for love. This is innocence, the desire to be older, to experience, to be marked, marred. In every corner, secret maps are being drawn in hearts, secret plans that start to bubble over…extravagant dreams spinning out as the dancers circle closer and closer in this teenage ritual.
The girl turns.
She yawns, and as she raises her hand to cover her mouth, he takes it, asks, Can I? May I? And just like that, her fist of a heart cracks open a little. With careful steps, they circle around each other, each coated in gooseflesh, aware of every hair on the other, of every breath each is withholding. Hardly moving their bodies, just their hearts pounding against each other, a dance of their own, pulling them this way and that, but always closer. The color rises in their cheeks, necks dampen, and with each slow spin, her eyes dare to look a little more into his, the light in them getting brighter and brighter.
Secret plans are being drawn in their hearts. They are in the antechamber of love and it is bubbling over like the champagne in the soft flaps of their membrane, their dreams are volatile as they spin and spin and rush on, whirling past the aisle, launching into a life together as the fist of her heart cracks wide and lets him in. The moon, just a whisper tonight, hides behind the swarming clouds.
Every day is a dull green color. A large moss is growing over their lives, softly at first, overtaking the house, the dog, the children, smothering, sucking with its tentacled tissue and sporophytes all life underneath. Every day is the same liturgy of brushing and braiding hair, soggy bologna sandwiches, lavish amounts of detergent, 100 strokes of the swiffer, the nice dinner, honey! with sadness and a glass of wine or two or three.
The dim metallic air weighs heavy as loneliness prowls around the house with sinewy hips.
And yet, sometimes the lush fog clears, and her eyes dare to look a little into his, and the timid fist gently uncurls.
The moss encroaches, enveloping the timid fist with dense vegetation. The dust motes march down one by one. The laundry, like clockwork starts to give off its peculiar stench. The children’s stomachs growl and the dog stamps impatiently at the door. Each second being sliced away by the Sacraments of living.
The moon peers over the moss but cannot see anything.
The leaves of the mangosteen tree trembled violently as the house shook with the anger of raised voices. Volleying back and forth, tidal waves of irreconcilable words, irreconcilable fears rain down in the yellow kitchen. And with one breath, with two breaths, with three, they say without meaning to, the things they cannot unsay.
Bitter foul taste of bile and acid rising with regret in their stomachs.
She takes his raised hand, “May I? Can I?” She tries to help him remember, their life before the moss, a shared life of everyday comfort, not easy, but theirs.
She uncurls her heart and lays it bare for him. An open peony, each petal still smooth, she uses his hand to trace over it the secret plans and maps she had, no, not the secret plans and maps she had but the real memories and experiences they shared, etched in the grooves of her heart, a favorite record she plays all the time.
Her eyes are bright, they dare to look a little into his, but his eyes, his thoughts are inaccessible to her. The peony trembles, losing a petal, crumbling to paper. He has left this life for another, he had secret plans and maps of his own- plans that grew larger and larger, like a thick moss enveloping him. The moon cannot see him. He is enticed by another, she is left a wound in the yellow kitchen.
She is unable to sustain herself. Irreconcilable fears have become inconsolable fears. She shuffles around the house unclean as her neglected children, now without even one parent watch wide-eyed as she shouts and sobs, someonehelpmesomeonehelpmeplease. Begging barefoot in the streets, bleeding openly without dignity, without care. She is left prostrate, moaning, rocking back and forth in the grass, tormented by her imagination, the shrieking questions taunting her with images, trying desperately to fill in her lack of knowledge. She makes secret plans and maps, drawing them in the secret chambers of her mind, militantly engraving them. The voices urge her to go find the little half-moons in the medicine cabinet.
She walks to the bathroom and as her fist closes over the knob, she is besieged. Her heart is pounding, her blood is pulsing in waves…red, powerful globules, surging against the vein walls in desire, arresting her. Live, live, live, they say. Even the moon has needs, look! The moon, full and ablaze outside the window looks at her with no embarrassment, with pride. She lets go of the handle, seeing her own face in the mirror, with the reflection of the moon in it.
She clutches her round cheeks, polished by the moon. She dares to look all the way in her eyes. The blood in her veins sloshing, crashing in joy. Her breasts swell, dilating upward. She walks stridently outside to the moon, breaking to pieces as she goes. An arm left here by the mangosteen tree. Laughter comes out of her without being processed as she peels off her clothes like peony petals. Her eyes grow brighter and brighter, drenched in the moon’s strange light. She unfurls, effulgent with the moon, all the while, parts of her falling, a pinky toe rolling down the sewer, a gash in her thigh wide as a mouth, light filling in the broken parts, great scabs of light, shards from the moon assailing her, she stumbles, falls on her knees, prostrate again, gyrating in mad joy, arms outstretched, groping, searching desperately for the next adventure, ready for this life, the next life, the light of eternal darkness