Observing the Moon

I think I saw you in my sleep, darling,
I think I saw you in my dreams,
You were stitching up the seams
on every broken promise
that your body couldn’t keep.
I think I saw you in my sleep.

I was just working on the contract we made ten years ago with a Spanish publishing house for the translation rights to a book called ‘Observing the Moon’ by John S. Folkes. As I logged all the data and filed it away, I realised something.

I realised that this would be the year that I would buy you a really expensive, state of the art telescope for Christmas. I wanted to last year, and the year before that, but was not in a position where I could afford to buy you such an item. But, it’s different this year: I have the money to invest in a special gift like a telescope, to invest in your knowledge, your happiness, our happiness. But, it’s different this year: you are no longer mine.

I remember being surprised. You downloaded an app on your phone which, if you pointed the phone towards the sky, displayed on screen a map of the stars above. The constellations, the planets, all in the palm of your hand. I was surprised at how fascinated you were by this app. You didn’t strike me as one who would be interested in astronomy. But you revelled in it. “Babe, look, that’s Jupiter!!!!” You spoke about your childhood, how you and your sisters would take the poor quality children’s telescope out into the garden and argue over whose turn it was to look through the spyhole. You never got to see much: too cloudy, too much light pollution, the cap was still on the lens. As you recalled your disappointment at wanting to study the sky but never managing to do so, I said to myself in my head, “Right, that’s his Christmas present sorted.”

During my first few months of university, we had to get used to being apart from each other after having spent the whole summer living in each other’s shoes, breathing the same air, sharing the same bed. We were suddenly apart. But, no matter where we were in the world, no matter how many miles apart, we always shared the same sun and the same moon. When we particularly missed each other, one of us would send the other a message saying “Look at the moon.” And we would both look at the moon and feel like we were together, even if just for a moment.

One gloomy Thursday in November, you sent me a message. “Look at the moon.” So I got out of bed, went to the window, opened the curtains and looked around the sky for the moon. I didn’t see the moon but instead I saw you, sitting on the bonnet of your van, right outside my flat. You were better than the moon. You were my moon, and my stars, and my sun, and my everything.

But, it’s different this year: never make someone your everything, because when they’re gone, you’ll have nothing.

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