Moon Shine

‘Much like the distant glow of the moon, her brilliance was the type you could never tire from gawking at, no matter how many times your eyes chanced contemplation of her beauty.

Much like the variant faces and shapes of the moon, she was miscellaneous, and evinced an alluring abstruseness. She reminded me of an abstract art piece in a gallery, emanating a diversity of impressions and sensations – all beguiling in their own way. 

Much like the far-flung moonshine, her soul was remote. She was flamboyant. Elusive. Untamed. One of a kind.’

*

She’s read it through probably three or four times now. I say nothing the whole while, just taking a sip here ‘n’ there of the red wine in my hand.

It’s an early-Autumn afternoon. Lectures hadn’t finished too late today, and so we’d decided on today to visit this moderately chic ambiance restaurant and bar in Central/West London.

“What do you think?”

To be quite frank, I care more that she’d read it than what she actually thinks about it. I feel somewhat satisfied knowing that, some of what clogged my mind for so long and so tenaciously has finally found its expression and its way into her own mind. Regardless of the impression it has left, it is now there. Irreversibly.

I write, I told her. And she asked me for a sample of my writing. And so that’s what I gave to her. She has no idea, though, (I think, at least) that this piece is something I wrote about her. For a moment this makes me feel a very strange but specific facet of guilt, and heaps of desperation (though the feeling shortly subsides). But what is one supposed to do? Fill himself to the brim with all these thoughts and imagery ’til he is consumed by a chaotic overflow of keenness and emotion, of which could potentially result in a disastrous outcome?

“It’s good,” she begins. Folding the crumpled sheet of paper, she gives the restaurant a brisk once over. It’s notably busy in here considering it only being midweek.

A voluble troop of 6 or so other students gather themselves around some stools at the bar, chortling away over beers. A couple sit languidly a few seats away. Two almost-empty glasses rest by them as they glare one another in the eye, presumably wandering deep in the confines of delicate conversation.

And across the room from them is us. Her and I. Cana and myself.

“You think so?” I say to her.
“Absolutely,” she says with a sly increase of elation. “The diction is nice, and it’s expressive.” Cana hands me the piece of paper after giving it one final peek.

“So you really like it?” She nods convincingly and downs the remaining contents of her glass of red wine. After doing so, she hails one of the waiters for another glass.

*

We’ve known each other for just a little over 6 months now. I first saw Cana in a lecture. I would see her all the time but she never – and I mean not once – noticed me. Until one day a few weeks into the term, I caught her by herself and decided I’d find no better opportunity to strike up a conversation than there and then.

So I did. I asked her a question. I can’t remember what exactly, but it was dumb one, no doubt. Nevertheless, it got the ball rolling. It rolled very, very slowly indeed, but what mattered was the simple fact that it was in some kind of motion. Eventually, it rolled far enough for me to get a friendly date out of it.

And here we are today.

*

Tucking away the piece of paper into the chest pocket of my grey polo, I thank her. She looks blankly into the empty space between her and myself for some seconds without a word, then asks,
“Who is it about, like, what was your inspiration for the piece?”

You, Cana, I wrote this about you… These are the images and stanzas that come to mind when I think about you. Of course, though, I don’t say this. I instead lie.

“The moon. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I drew open my curtains and simply stared at the moon for some time. Then I had a dream, too. The same night.”

Cana peers attentively at me without a word.
“So I brought out my pen and pad the next morning, and before I knew it, my hand began to waltz all over the paper.”

“How cliché,” she says in jest. “What was the dream? You saw this… she you’re talking about in it? Or?”

With my mouth slightly agape, I watch her eye contact trail away from me and latch onto the approaching waiter, who comes with another tall glass of red wine.

 

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Sauntering in Thessaly

 

It was an early-winter night. The moon gleamed royally from the lonely distance. A frigid wind swept its way through the terrain, penetrating through fabrics and stabbing at exposed flesh.

I pocketed my remaining Marlboro Golds and went for a stroll. I did a good job of layering up, so I wasn’t too riled up by the chill. The streets were quiet, dark and near enough barren. I kept ambling with no particular destination in mind. I just simply walked. 3o minutes or so must have passed before I stopped to assess my location. I was in some unfamiliar section of Larissa.

Since a child, I’ve never really had a problem with being lost and alone, nor felt the slightest anxiety when l found myself in some new, unknown place. I’ve always figured it was because my grandmother used to always say to me as a kid:
You see, the best thing about losing something or being lost, is that you find things or places you would have otherwise probably not come across. At times, it’s a beautiful thing to be completely and utterly lost.’
To an extent, of course.

I placed a Marlboro between my frosted lips and rummaged through my pockets for a lighter before realising I’d not brought one. ‘Dammit’, I uttered beneath my breath. I surveyed the area for an off license, but I was short of luck. Hardly anyone was around. In fact, the only person I spotted at that moment in time was a petite lady on the other side of the street, solitary and stationed by a streetlamp.

She just stood there, clasping herself together beneath the weight of the cold. Her positioning in contrast to where the streetlamp was meant that, from where I stood, most of her form was silhouetted. She seemed to be waiting for a taxi or something of the sort. I began to make my way towards her, and she looked up in my direction. I paused a few steps in front of her.

“I don’t mean to trouble you,” I began. “but you wouldn’t happen to have a lighter I could use, would you?”

She looked up at me with those big, sumptuous eyes. Distinctly and remarkably olive-green. Even beneath the inadequate lighting, they still glimmered.

“I’m afraid I don’t.” she said a few notches above a whisper.

My ears picked up on her response, but my mind was swept into an entirely different region of thought for a moment. We both stood there in silence for who knows how long. I remember being wholly beguiled by her beauty as my eyes soaked in more of her.

Dark patches circled her eyes which enhanced their emerald sheen. For a moment I thought about thick, sombre clouds, coiling themselves around a brilliant full moon. Then, pine-green auricula flowers came to mind – on an easy summer afternoon, all leisurely encamping beneath the pleasant shade of a tall tree.

Her jet black hair, which appeared to be wet, was tied up in a simple bun. Her small hand brushed a few fallen strands behind her left ear. Her pale, beautifully chiselled face sat at the peak of a more-than-decent form. She wore loose mom-jeans, a large khaki pullover, and white Reebok Classics.

“That’s no problem.” I eventually responded.

Whatever the reason may be, to me, this lady exuded a peculiar facet of grace, an organic allure I’d never come across before. As I made my way back home, my mind gripped tenaciously onto recollections of her face. I had to express the sensation they immediately gave me. I had to bring to tangible life what her eyes stirred up in me – to convey onto a canvas what I’d experienced on that idle stroll. But I couldn’t find the right words.

So I painted. I painted a young boy wandering alone through an expansive forest, and captioned it, ‘At times, it’s a beautiful thing to be completely and utterly lost’.

Don’t Explain

“Elevator music?”
“Jazz,” I say. “Bossa nova is more typically considered elevator music.”
“Same thing.”

I clamp my eyes shut tight and cup my throbbing forehead with one hand. Every morning, and I mean every morning, I start the day some jazz. Of recent, it’s always been either a Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, or Miles Davis record. Within the first few moments of my waking, I’ll reach over to my bedside table, place down the pin on one of my vinyls, and sit without a word for a few minutes before actively commencing my day. It’s a method I use to ease myself into the new day. For me, it’s almost like a bridge I cross each morning from a dreamy state to consciousness.

She’s sat on my bed with her back against the wall and her knees to her chest. I peer with one eye to the clock on the wall which reads a little before 9a.m. A glimmer of sunlight struggles its way through the slight parting of the curtains, and clings onto the carpet and the wall crosswise from the window.

She lets out an exaggerated sigh, lighting a cigarette.
“You want something to eat?”
“What do you have?”
“I don’t know. Eggs, toast, waffles, cereal, oats.” She says nothing to these suggestions.
“There’s also sweet potato. That’s what I’m havin’.” I tell her, looking to her.
She exhales before saying, “How about I prepare us some french toast and you make us sweet potatoes? Done. You’ve got coffee, right?”
“Sweet potato, french toast and coffee. That’s a bit of a weird breakfast compilation, don’t you think?”
“So? Most recipes are somewhat strange in their own way, if you reeaally think about it. Even just common cereal is weird.”

She pauses briefly and blows smoke towards the ceiling. “Think about it. You add cow’s milk to it. Like, who even said it was okay to drink cow’s milk in the first place? Surely it’s meant for calves, not humans. Yet we take it with almost everything. That’s strange, no? Why don’t we drink horse’s milk. Or, say, elephant’s milk.”

She had a point. I’d never thought about it in anywhere close to that much depth before. I let another 5 or so minutes pass before actually getting up to go to the kitchen.

She strolls into the kitchen with nothing on but underwear and one of my T-shirts. She passes a transient comment about the shirt as she ties her hair up into a no-less-than-sleek ponytail. I’m leant up against the counter with a chilled glass of water by my side while the sweet potatoes boil on mellow heat.

She walks up to me and presses her lips against mine, then stares unwaveringly into my eyes, arms slung loosely around my neck.
“Have a cigarette for now. You’ll be fine once something settles in your belly.”

Without a word, I do as she says. She always knows when something’s on my mind. In the same kind of manner a clairvoyant reads palms, she gazes intently into the very back of my idle eyes. And she reads. What she reads, I don’t know. I’ve never known and it’s likely that I never will.

But the simple fact she can tell gives me some degree of comfort.

 

Tired Eyes

“You know what’s funny, Mel?” he began with his usual drunken smile fixed on his face.

Whenever he came home after a few beers, his face would develop this wide and obstinate grin. This grin of his would spread itself across almost the entire width of his lower jaw, and push the outworn flesh of his cheeks right to the space below his deep, tired eyes. His voice was sonorous and steady, but yet gentle in its own peculiar way.

He said, “The same day you get paid, the same day you become broke.”
A profound silence condensed itself into the atmosphere immediately after these words broke from his mouth. I wondered throughout the endured quietude whether there was a deeper metaphor to grasp from this comment. Something like, ‘Happiness is but for only a short moment.’

Grin still on show. It was almost disconcerting how adamantly this expression of his would remain on his face no matter how bleak the subject matter which flowed from him was.

“If I was a selfish man…”,

Now, his grin very discreetly toned down a few notches on one side of his face as he lowered his eyes to the floor.

“I would be far better off, I think. In terms of comfort.” He paused, looked up to me in the eyes, then said, “But I wouldn’t feel right in my heart.”

Again, silence.

The expression on his face suggested he was tussling with an exceedingly complex wire of thoughts in his own head for a moment. He then let out a heavy sigh and placed his hand on my bedroom door-handle as though about to exit.

“Anyway, son, let me not bore you any more. But I will leave you with this:…”

In that same instance, the intensity in his eyes grew.

“Don’t, I tell you, don’t give up hope. That is one thing humanity really cannot afford to do.”

I digested these words carefully. He continued:

“Hope is really the only thing that keeps us going. Whether we realise it or not. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that we might finally wake up one morning and witness our breakthrough. Hope that after we’ve trudged our way through this weary and – bluntly put – unpleasant, life, we will eventually one day get to a point where we can turn around, behold how far we’ve come, and say to ourselves, ‘This is indeed what I hoped for. This is the life that I’ve always wanted to live.'”

And he left. At that moment I looked to a void spot between me and the wall opposite me without a word for some thirty seconds, and pondered all of what he’d said.