8.07.2009

The Boy Who Touched the Moon (Ink Notes)

This weeks Ink Notes was a little more difficult - I've had a long relationship with the Braham's Requiem, and didn't feel the need to write autobiography. Hopefully it turned out alright. The music is the First Movement:

The Boy Who Touched the Moon

There was once a boy who wanted to touch the Moon. The story why is unimportant - those stories are more or less all the same. It only matters that one night, the moon rose up in the sky, full and yellow and rich, and he looked, and saw the four-sisters-in-the-moon whispering to each other on it's face, and he felt a tug, the same tug as the sea at tide-time, the tug to reach up and touch the moon. But the sea has a seabed and cannot rise from it - the boy had not taken to bed yet, and so he took out his bicycle, and skimmed onto a road, due east where the moon sagged across the horizon.

The road was so very smooth, and very long, and the moon so broad and comely, that the boy hardly looked about him, and when he did, the houses around him didn't look familiar. The road, though, became a street, and the street a lane, and then an end, and at the end, was a little restaurant, with a sign over the door, that read "The Old Moon". He tied his bicycle to the wooden-railed stoop, and climbed up to the door, and went inside.

The restaurant was nearly empty, and it smelled of dust and candle-wax. A plump-faced cheery girl came up and cocked a scrubbed face at the boy.

"Hello, little boy," she smiled, and looked at him quietly. Her eyes were warm, and her hands slow and still and in no particular hurry. Her voice, though, after it's ventures into speech, tucked itself back into her throat and hid. The silence was unexpected and uncomfortable.

"I'm... I'm looking for the moon."

"Oh?"

"You know. You'd think I could find it myself. Maybe I should have tried looking up, huh?" he laughed weakly.

The girl frowned, not perturbed, but confused. "Oh. Well, come with me."

She turned, and walked. She had a jaunting, bouncing step, that made each fold and parcel of her tumble about in a laughing sort of rhythm when she walked. She led him through the tables, to the kitchen doors, through a pale and scrubbed kitchen, where a cook sat reading a book, and to another little door.

"No need to knock, little boy."

And she tumbled away, with the chuckling movement of hips and belly and bosom and hair, and he was left with a door and the quiet swishing of the pages of the cook's novel. He opened the door and peeked in shyly. The room was small, a pantry of sorts, with shelves of glass cannisters, and a second door in the opposite wall. In the center, on an old, worn chair, sat an old, worn woman, who looked up through old, worn spectacles, with her old, worn eyes. She smiled, a slow, creaking smile, and nodded quietly.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

"You know, dear one, you'll never get to the moon making jokes." She smiled quietly.

"Oh... ok."

"Well, then. Goodnight" she rose.

"Um... goodnight."

She turned and opened the other door, it was very dark inside of it. She creaked inside and quietly shut the door.

When he came out the lights were off, and the girl was bustling around the kitchen with a feather duster. She smiled gently at the boy, and put down the duster.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

"I locked up, I'll have to let you out the back. Come on, then."

She opened a door between a deep oven and a bulletin board. The boy nodded, politely, and mumbled out a good night. The girl just smiled, and shut the door. Behind the restaurant, his bicycle stood on it's kickstand, and a lane stretched out in front of him, due east, straight toward the moon that sagged low on the horizon. The four sisters still whispered to each other across the face. HE rode on toward it. The lane became a street, and the street became a road.

The road was straight and long, and the moon was deep and bright, so that he hardly looked about him. When he did, the strip malls and ditches around him were unfamiliar. The road became a frontage, and the frontage became a parking lot, and at the end of the parking lot, there was a little restaurant with a sign hanging over the door, reading "The Mother Moon". He tied his bicycle to a rack outside, and took the concrete walk up to the door.

The restaurant was nearly empty, and it smelled of dust and neon-lights. The same plump-faced, cheery girl came up and cocked the same scrubbed face at the boy.

"Hello, little boy," she smiled, and looked at him quietly, the same stilly, calm quiet.

"I'm... I'm looking for the moon."

"Oh?"

He swallowed and spoke very quiet "It's... if I could just go once, I will do whatever I have to do, afterwards, or even before. I know I'm not... like... important enough or anything. I just... I really need to go, just once."

The girl frowned, again, more perturbed now. "Oh. Well, come with me."

She turned, and walked, with the same strange step, the same bubbling glory to her. He longed, very much, to reach out to her, to put his hand over her heart and draw in just a bit of that glory, before she went on. But, just the same, she did not stop for him. She led him through the tables, to the kitchen doors, through a pale and scrubbed kitchen, where the cook sat reading a book, and to another little door.

"No need to knock, little boy."

And she tumbled away, and he ached and ached to rest on that soft arm, or to have the little, dancing hand stroke his cheek, but he was left with a door and the quiet swishing of the pages of the cook's novel. He opened the door, to the same small room, the same jars. In the center, on an old, worn chair, sat an even older, almost battered-worn woman, who peered creakily through a pair of crumpled eyes. She smiled, a slow, creaking smile, and nodded quietly.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

"You know, dear one, you'll never get to the moon by praying." She smiled quietly.

"Oh... ok."

"Well, then. Goodnight" she rose.

"Um... goodnight."

She turned and opened the other door, it was very dark inside of it. She creaked inside and quietly shut the door.

When he came out the lights were off, and the girl smiled again, and put down her duster.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

"I locked up, I'll have to let you out the back. Come on, then."

She opened the door between the oven and corkboard, and he nodded a silent way out. Behind the restaurant, his bicycle stood on it's kickstand, and a parking lot splayed out in front of him, with a little outlet past a dumpster, due east, straight toward the moon that sagged low on the horizon. The four sisters still whispered to each other across the face. HE rode on toward it. The lot become a frontage, and the frontage become a road.

The road was straight and long, and the moon was old and sweet, so that he hardly looked about him. When he did, the green trees and little burrow-houses around him were unfamiliar. The road became a path, and the path became a track, rough and soft, so that it bent the frame of his bicycle and he pulled it carefully up behind him. At the end of the little track, there was a little restaurant with a sign hanging over the door, reading "The Small Moon". He left the bicycle in a high patch of grass, and stepped between two flower beds and through the front door.

The smell here was thicker: dust and the remains of a deep fire in the hearth. The girl was the only person.

"Hello, little boy,"

"I'm looking for the moon."

"Oh?"

He was silent a moment, just looking at the girl. Then spoke very quietly "Yes."

The girl's smile was like a sliced cauntelope, her teeth broad and pale beneath her lips. "Come, my dearie. Come with me."

She gently took the boy's hand, and they walked together. The step, the kitchen, the reading cook, the door were all just the same. She did not leave when he reached it, but she gently let his hand go, standing just behind him.

He opened the door, to the same small room, the same jars, and the same door behind a woman - so old her spine had curled into an arthritic spiral, her eyes cloudy as milk stared unseeingly toward the wall. She smiled, the face so delicate that it seemed to pull out of shape from the strain, and she spoke in a voice made of hiss and broken metal hooks.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

The woman fought frailly towards standing, and the boy leapt forward to help her, to pull at the weightlessness of her arm, and offer his own arm to lean upon. The woman nodded kindly, and opened the opposite door.

The door led to a stairwell, dark as pitch, but as his foot touched the first step, he felt the coming glow of starlight on his neck, and looking up the narrow stairs, he saw the moon at the end. The old woman and the girl were gone now, the door was gone, the restaurant and the grass were gone. There was only stairs, and he walked up them, as quietly as he could, each tap of his shoe echoing glassily across the sky. The moon grew nearer and nearer and nearer, and the four sisters whispered on in the forever secrets they were telling. The shining disc grew brighter and deeper and wider, filling the whole width of his vision as he walked. And then, just as he found himself standing just over the horizon, the stairs stopped, and there the moon stood, pale and waxy gold, covered with dust and shining with a light, a light did not burn or nourish, a filtered aura that served no end but to shine and be beautiful.

In the dust sat the selfsame girl, with a feather duster in her hand, watching him come with the smiling quiet of a hungry bird.

"Hello, little boy."

"Hi."

She leaned out from the moon, the shape of her quivering across the starlight in a great, unrestrained fullness. She reached the duster forward and playfully tickled his face with it. The dust of the moon gritted into his eyes and lips and nose, and he sneezed. The girl laughed, a tripping, soft little laugh, and a whispered chuckle washed through the bodies of the four sisters.

The little boy smiled, and leaned forward over the step, to kiss the girl's cheek. The smell of her was rich and familiar, like dust and candlewax and neon and old, spent firelight, and dust and dust and dust. HE breathed her in, warm and soft, and her cheek was deep and smooth underneath his lips.

And then, the stairs were gone. The girl was disappeared, and the four sisters whispered on forever, as the moon slipped past the horizon into the earth. He stood behind the restaurant. His bicycle, unbent and clean, leaned on it's kickstand in the narrow grass of the little track, the track that stretched off to the west, into the dark, dark hollow of the empty sky. He climbed up on his bicycle, and rode along the track; the track became a path, and the path became a road, a long, straight road toward home.

4 comments:

margo said...

Such a wonderful story!! I love how each time he took to the road it brought him to a different Moon themes restaurant. Well different but all the same :) I'm glad he finally got to go to the moon!

Amanda said...

What an interesting little fairy tale! I'm glad you decided to try prose this time. :)

Jason Gignac said...

Ms Margo - Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it :).

Amanda - Well, if I only wrote poems, you'd stop loving me, right?

Julie said...

Nice story! Beautiful feel and imagery to it!