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When The Moon Went Missing

By Devin Walsh

I kind of freaked out when the moon went missing, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I mean, I don't think that's hard to understand. You spend your whole life with the moon up there, comfortable, expecting, and then one night you realize, what the fuck, it's been two weeks since I've seen the moon. That's how it happened, too. I was sitting outside the place where I drink beer just shooting the shit with these two guys, smoking cigarettes, and talking about this private college out West where every year the administration throws this huge party with tuition money and actually buys all this dope and puts it in little bags with how-to instructions, when all of the sudden I'm like: Man, you know what? I haven't seen the moon in days . This guy I'm talking with, he's all, It's been full, dude, full and beautiful. How does one go about not seeing a full goddamn moon? I can see missing, say, a little crescent, a little toe-nail-clipping-of-a-moon, even that waning shit. Whatever they call it. Waning gibbous. That I can see. But full? Then this thing happened with a girl and I didn't think about it anymore. That's always happening with me.

But the next night I'm walking home, which I really needed to do because I had some ice cream at work and, to tell you the truth, I've been kind of conscious of my weight lately. I was getting ready for the shower the other day and took off my shirt and there was the mirror, you know, and I put my hands on that burgeoning spare tire there and thought: If it's like this at 25…Know what I'm saying? So I walked. A little cold but who cares, really, you got to do what's best for you. That's the whole fucking secret of life, far as I'm concerned. But the point is, I'm walking along the sidewalk past campus, some dude with Sideshow Bob hair is chaining his bike on some steps, a group of kids are hanging outside the Lit building laughing, and otherwise the entire world is vacant and mine to look at, and just then I remember the thing about the moon. I look up and it isn't there.

I keep waiting, keep walking, keep craning my neck. It's not like it was overcast, know what I mean? I'd been outside all day--I like to spend a lot of time outside, not like doing anything really, just kind of sitting and being, sedentary like--and there hadn't been a cloud in the sky. Well I mean maybe one or two of the cirrus variety, but nothing serious, none of that nimbus shit or whatever. Cumulonimbus. I'd been sitting in sunlight all day reading this book I gotta do a report on in a few weeks. I don't like the book all that much, but it's nice to sit outside and eat peanuts and drink water and be in the sun. That's my take, anyway. Do whatever you want with it.

So, by the time I get home, I'm just a little freaked out. Got on the old Internet and checked out the local news station's Website. That linked to the meteorology department and there I read that, what the fuck, it's a full moon and a beautiful, clear night, and isn't it great we live in Asheville in the Spring? Isn't it fucking great? I wanted to say. Isn't it fucking great I can't see the goddamn moon? I felt like throwing things, and here's my cat all rubbing on my leg wanting food or affection or clean litter. What's nice about cats is you always know it's one of those things, unless they're outside cats, in which case they may want to go outside or come inside. Still, think about spending your whole life making five decisions.

Right around this time I realized it was 10 o'clock, and the local news actually comes on at 10 o'clock. Maybe, I thought, maybe they'd do that thing where they have a camera trained on the moon to show you how big and badass it is and I could finally see it that way. That way would be better than nothing. I mean, I really wanted to get an eyeful of that moon.

And here's the weird part: Everything went exactly according to my plan except when they switched to the moon-view, or whatever it's called, what I'm seeing is just this black screen with slightly luminous wisps of clouds floating through the air. Luminous? All the anchors said Ooh like they'd never seen the night sky before, everyone obviously too embarrassed to comment on the fact that the jackass on camera three or whatever couldn't find his ass from his elbows. But luminous?

I remembered hearing about this Tibetan monk or something who trained himself to stop eating by staring at the sun. Basically made himself into a plant, like he'd spend the whole day from sun up to sun down getting as close as he could to looking right into the center of the sun, and then at night he'd go to sleep, I guess, and the dude never ate. Like a plant, he depended only on the processes of nature happening as they always did. I figure he probably tilted too, always leaning in whichever direction the sun was, like one of those plants. Phototropic, think they call it. Anyway, I thought about that guy and then I thought about my moon and I didn't like the way any of it made me feel. Cat jumps onto my lap with the TV going--something about local sports and I'm not watching--and paws my face.

I fed the cat, went back outside, sat in my chair, lit a smoke, and waited. I'd wait all night. I had nothing of any particular interest going on and the next day was Saturday and I didn't have to work, which was great 'cause it meant I got to sit outside and drink beer and be happy, like the rest of Asheville in the Spring. So, I'd camp out here, God damn it, all night if necessary, waiting for the moon. 


Devin Walsh is an undergraduate student in Asheville, North Carolina, and the editor-in-chief of Metabolism.

Photo "Moon And Trees 4" courtesy of Jared Swafford, Atlanta, GA.

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