Face Of The Moon
She was tangential enough in her thoughts that the full Moon reminded her of the opening to an old vaudeville joke. It went, “I was on the sidewalk in front of the Plaza Hotel because that’s where I lived – on the sidewalk in front of the Plaza Hotel.” She’d heard it in an old ‘Twilight Zone’ episode about a guy who wanted people to laugh at everything he said, which proved to be a curse. In modern context it made fun of and was insensitive to homelessness and would thus be deemed inappropriate, but when the episode aired in the early 1960’s it was just dated, having first originated at least as far back as the 1920’s. Hmmmm, she thought, that joke is at least 100 years old. Whadya know. Oh wait, her rattled thoughts cycled around, the Moon.
The Moon. As full tonight as a police siren, as bright as a searchlight catching her in its beam and sending her mind backpedaling and serpentine into her own twilight zone, less on a sidewalk than an alley of some sort, not in front of the Plaza Hotel but a thousand miles away behind a motel she didn’t remember the name of, hiding in what sort of crevaces existed between the garbage and a shed, evading the face of the Moon.
The Moon. The Face of the Moon. The left eye a Sea Of Tranquility, languid, almost flirtatious. But the right eye, the Oceanus Procellarum, the Ocean Of Storms, an impact crater, one of the largest in the solar system, created by a left hook. Ragged with bruising and swelling. It was her own face.
The Moon. She shifted to another side of the shed where shadows sheltered her, allowing her mind to scatter, more old TV episodes, more cities far away, more Plaza Hotels, any kind of distraction. But from there the bright windows of houses just across an empty lot were as jarring as the Moon. She could see people walking past them, hear sporadic words from disparate conversations. In one of those houses miles away, in one of those conversations fueled by alcohol and inexplicable rage the Left Hook had orbited out of the darkness and impacted.
The Moon. If she could see her reflection there so could The Left Hook. How far had she already run? How much farther to evade it? She felt so tired. How many nights ago? Two? Three? She couldn’t remember seeing the sun, so maybe this same night? She couldn’t remember not seeing the Moon staring back at her, reminding her of her own face even as her mind tried to shift into fantasy, to an illusion of escape. She looked out to the traffic on the street; was the Left Hook cruising for her there? If she had a car she would drive and drive and drive into the darkness.
The Moon. It was too bright. It would not let her get to darkness. She gawked back at it, brought her hand gently to her face and felt her sore, swollen right eye, her Ocean Of Storms. She found herself gazing up to the Sea Of Tranquility that seemed to see her with absolute clarity. It seemed to be looking down at the motel, down into a window that led to the lobby. She could see at least two people there; two women at reception. She wondered if they had their own impact craters. If they knew about the Left Hook. If they knew what to do about its orbit. She looked back at her reflection in the Moon, into the eye of the Sea Of Tranquility, into the undamaged side of herself that would not look away and would not cower, then she got up, her head throbbing, and on shaking legs moved out of the twilight zone towards the bright lobby.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.