The Man In The Moon

by Leon L. King

The moon silently followed me as I walked through streets as ageless as it was. It stared down at me as if it wished I would take notice of it. I didn't, however, because my mind was as far away from earth as it was. I walked with my head down and my hands in my pockets although the weather was in the mid-seventies and it was an altogether pleasant evening. I hadn't walked that way in over a decade. I used to walk with my head down, hands in pockets, as a young boy who wanted nothing more than to be left alone. An old friend changed that by suggesting that people wouldn't tease me as much if I walked with more confidence, that is, head held high, looking straight ahead with arms swinging at my side. I saw that old friend yesterday, which is why I am so deep in thought right now. I could only wish that she were here now to correct my posture.

I hadn't been home in over a year. Home, speaking of the place where I grew up, is in Indianola, Mississippi, a small town where almost everyone knows everyone else. When I moved away after college, I vowed that I would never come back to stay. Now I lie awake sometimes in my Chicago apartment wishing that I was here among the open fields and friendly faces. My mother has given up trying to get me to come home more often. My father, in his usual fashion, had never tried at all.

Now here I am, back in the place where a lot has changed, but even more has stayed the same. I see some familiar faces and a lot of strange ones. The babies that I once knew as a child have now become teenagers and unrecognizable for the most part until I find out whom the family is. My father's death has brought me back to this place that I forsake so long ago. His untimely departure has awakened in me feelings that I didn't know that I had for him. It's not that he was the mean, abusive, deadbeat, substance abusing type of father that I was accustomed to seeing or hearing about in my daily tasks as a social worker. In comparison to the plight of the families that I sometimes worked with, he was God's gift. He just wasn't a man of many words. Although he produced the seed from which I sprung, that's where his parenting stopped. As I grew up, he made sure that all of the bills were paid and that everything around the house functioned properly but left all of the family duties to my mother. He didn't pay much attention to me unless it was absolutely necessary. An occasional grunt or disapproving look was his usual way of communicating with me. I don't what I was afraid of the most while growing up: that look or my mother's belt. Both of them got the job done though.

Cancer came like a thief in the night and took him away from this world. He had been sick for months but Iíd neglected to come see him. My mother practically begged me to come and see how he was doing, but I always had an excuse. The truth was that I didn't want to see the man and show him love or compassion because he'd never expressed it to me. That selfishness made me a fool and a lonely man at the present.

The grief that I felt at his funeral was still not enough to bring forth tears. I hurt, but it was more so for my mother. I was an only child and now she would be alone. She has always been a strong woman though and has rebuked all of my requests for her to move to Chicago with me since I learned of my father's death. She told me that this was where she wanted to be and hinted that if I was so worried about her, then I should just move back home or closer. As a matter of fact, the big city life was taking its toll on my mind, body, and spirit. I yearned for the slower paced life of Mississippi. However, I couldnít let my mother know that I was unhappy and pretended that I didnít want to entertain the possibility of returning.

My mother is as stubborn as she is strong. Always has been and always will be. I inherited my mother's stubbornness and looks and my father's inability to express emotion and his sir name. I assumed that she needed comforting and support but I soon learned that she needed nothing more than my presence. She was happy to have me home and doted over me as only a mother who missed her only child could. When she finished spoiling me, we sat at the kitchen table and talked until sleep took her away from me. I gently shook her awake and told her that I was going to go out for a little while. She sleepily said, "Be careful Richard, this town isn't as peaceful as it used to be. While you're out, pick up some more eggs for me, so that I can make my famous ham and cheese omelets in the morning."

Just the thought of my mother's omelets makes my mouth water. There has never been anyone who could come close to beating her omelets in my opinion.

"I don't have any cash on me. Where is the closest ATM? I asked.

She straightened up in her chair and stretched. She stood up and said, "Come on. Your father's wallet is on the dresser in our room. There should be some money in it. Just take what you need."

Our room. That's what my mother said. As I followed her, I wondered how long she would refer to the things, which my father and she had shared, in a plural sense. She was only 53, yet it seemed as if she was preparing to live the rest of her life alone. She'd aged well and looked ten years younger than her age. The only way that she would remain alone would be by her choice. However, on the day of her husband's funeral, the farthest thing from her mind was seeking another mate. Maybe time would change how she felt, but at the moment I couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

"There it is," she said as she pointed towards my father's wallet when we'd made it to her room. She grabbed her gown and went into the bathroom to change.

To even think about touching my father's wallet would have sent me into fits of paranoia had he still been alive. Courtney Robinson was covered with six feet of earth now though, and so I assumed that I was safe. For some reason, that assumption still didn't stop me from glancing around as I reached for it. I opened it and stared in disbelief at the one and only picture that it contained. It was a snapshot of my father and I at my college graduation. I remember taking the picture but I'd never seen it after it was developed. My mother had taken the picture and I remember her saying that we could at least look happy and now I understood why she'd said it. If it weren't for the cap and gown that I wore, anyone looking at the picture would have assumed that we were at a solemn occasion. I wore the same expression, or lack of, as my father. There we both stood, stone faced, and I realized that I was more like my father than I thought I was. A picture can speak a thousand words and it spoke volumes to me. That picture told the optimistic part of me that he did know that I was alive and that he was proud of me although heíd never told me or expressed it. The pessimist in me made up a hundred excuses as to why it was there. The optimist was winning this battle and I had to blink back the tears. I grabbed some money and put the wallet down as if my father was still alive.

"IíLL GET SOME MORE CRANBERRY SAUCE TOO!" I yelled as I rushed out of the room. I had to get out of the house as fast as I could before I lost my composure.

The tears that I was able to blink back earlier came for the first time since my father's passing as I drove through once forgotten streets. When my well had dried, I remembered that I had to stop at the supermarket before it became too late. Late in this town was ten 'o' clock. I went in and had more trouble than I thought that I would have to find where the cranberry sauce was located. I had no use for it at home and never had to shop for it growing up. As I was wandering down another aisle, a voice came from behind me and asked, "May I help you find something Richard?" Although I hadn't heard that voice in almost eight years, I recognized it instantly. The voice was still as beautiful and sweet as the last time that I heard it. I turned around and there she was, Ashley Whitaker, my first friend and my first love, looking as lovely as she had ever looked although she had on her uniform.

"I'm sorry, but do I know you?" I asked with a smile. Time had truly been good to her. She didn't look as if she'd aged a day since I last saw her.

"Well even if you don't know me, I'm still going to give you a hug for looking like an old friend." she replied.

I said, "I don't think that I would mind a hug from someone as attractive as you. You do look somewhat familiar, but the girl that I used to know was kind of on the ugly side and she was taller. How tall are you," I asked, "Five foot- three?"

"Well I don't know how to quite take that ugly remark but a hug is still in order," she said as she came toward me with open arms and her eternally beautiful smile. "And, for your information, I am five foot-four and a half."

Never had a hug felt so good to me. When I finally let her go, we stood and talked for fifteen minutes. We were trying to catch up on eight lost years in a span of a few minutes and so our questions about each other came in a flood. I learned that she was divorced, had recently moved back to Indianola, and was now working in the supermarket while she attended nursing school. The announcement came that the store would be closing in ten minutes interrupting our conversation. She helped me find the cranberry sauce and told me that she would be at the store another hour to do the books and then had to go home and prepare for early classes the next day. I told her that I would try to contact her during the afternoon after her classes and watched her five foot-four and a half-inch frame as she began walking away.

"My mother is making ham and cheese omelets in the morning," I called after her. She was one of the fortunate few whoíd had the pleasure of experiencing my motherís cooking.

She turned and said, "If I wasnít having a quiz in class tomorrow, I would definitely be at your house in the morning. That is, if I were invited," she added.

"Now you know that mama wouldnít mind if you came by. She still asks about you every now and then. She always did think of you as the daughter that she never had."

Ashley hung her head and softly said, "She was always nice to me. I heard about your father and Iím sorry that I didnít make it to the funeral."

She spoke so softly that I could barely hear her. I walked to her and hugged her again. "Thatís okay. I honestly thought that I would see you there but I didnít dwell on it because so many other things were going on around me." I gave her a final squeeze before I let her go. "Didnít mama teach you how to make her omelets?" I asked in an effort to get off the subject.

"Yes, she did. It took a lot of practice but I think that I could probably match hers now."

"I seriously doubt that. Iíd better go check out but Iíll get in touch with you tomorrow."

"Goodnight," she said as she turned and walked away again.

I left the store in a better state of mind than when I arrived. I drove back to my mother's house in a dream state. That night, sleep didn't come to take me as quickly and peacefully as it had my mother. My thoughts were filled with Ashley and seeing her tomorrow.

I remember how I first met her as if it were yesterday. I was ten years old at the time and we had recently moved to Indianola from Jackson. Iíd always been a loner so I didn't have to worry about making new friends because I didn't have any old ones. Three blocks from my house was a huge pond surrounded by trees and trails. That pond eventually became my ocean and the woods were my wilderness. I knew every trail, tree, and stream like the back of my hand. That was my second home. My first home was only where I ate and slept.

It was the beginning of summer when we moved to Indianola. I found solace in the pond and the trees. I would go off to my favorite spot to read the latest X-Men comic or anything else that I could lay my hands on. From this spot, I ruled the world. There was a moss-covered rock, which was my throne, which sat in the middle of a stream. I was surrounded on all sides by trees and the only sounds that could be heard during that hot summer were the buzzing of hidden locusts, the chirping of birds, and the soft babble of the stream. When the sun shined, it reflected off the stream and looked as if a million diamonds were in the water. I loved that place and claimed it as my own.

One day, an uninvited guest invaded my palace of solitude. I was creeping through the trees, pretending to be a hunter, moving as silently as I could so that I wouldn't scare away the imaginary animal that I was hunting. As I came to my special place, I saw a girl sitting on the spot, which I called my throne. Usually I was a quiet, somewhat shy little boy but I just couldn't have my space invaded without a fight. I hid behind a tree and tried to scare her away by making menacing noises and shaking the underbrush. She looked around but instead of running away, as I surely would have, she came to the place in which I was hidden.

"What are you doing?" she asked looking down at me.

"I was looking for something," I replied as I got up from my hiding place.

"No you weren't. You were trying to scare me away!" she said with her hands on her hips.

"Well, this is my spot, so I think that you should leave." I said as forcefully as I could. Ten-year old boys' voices sound like ten-year old girls, so my voice didn't have quite the affect that I'd hoped.

"How is this your spot? Do your parents own the land?" she asked.

She knew full well that my parents didn't own the land. "Yes." I lied anyway. I was quickly running out of any other options.

"No they don't. You're a liar," she said.

Liar was pretty much the worst thing that you could call another at that age. So I said the only other thing, which was worse. I said, "You're mother's a liar".

That pretty much did it there. If I had been smarter, I would have been running away when I said it. At my age, most girls were about the same size as other boys. However, she was bigger than most girls and I was smaller than most other boys. She had me by at least four or five inches and easily outweighed me. I'd had my fair share of fights with other boys who liked to tease me and I was actually pretty good when it came to defending myself. I was outmatched that day though, and I found out the hard way: through a little experience. To this day, I still think that she had to have been taking fighting lessons from some pros.

She asked, "What did you just say?"

I wasn't going to actually say it again, so I mumbled, "You heard me."

What ensued was an instant battle. I found out that day that the worst fight that a person can get into is when there isn't anyone around to break it up, especially if you're getting beaten to death. All that I remember was hearing a lot of screaming which was more than likely coming from me. Iím pretty sure that she threw me into the stream a couple of times too but the screams are all that I can recall with clarity. When she got tired of beating me, she just held me in a headlock and made me take back my words and admit that I was a liar. I would have said anything at that point and she let me up. As soon as I was on my feet, I took off running. I ran a few yards away from her and picked up a rock that that was about the size of a golf ball. My aim had never been very good to that point and I just wanted to scare her. When I threw the rock, any major league pitcher would have been proud of me. The rock sailed smoothly threw the air until it hit her directly on the knee. The last thing that I remember is her screaming out in pain and sinking to the ground as blood poured forth. I got scared and ran all the way home.

The next day, I had all but forgotten the incident. Its kind of hard to totally forget getting beat up, even after fifteen years. I told myself that I would apologize when I saw her again which would hopefully be when I was her size. As I walked down the street toward my special place, I kept an eye out for the devil's little sister. To my relief, I didn't see her and made it back to my special place without incident. I'd forgotten to bring something to read in my fear of getting mauled again, so I just sat on my rock thinking about what I should have done to overpower her yesterday. All of a sudden, the girl jumped from behind the bushes with the biggest dog that I'd ever seen. I immediately took flight with no questions asked and heard her say from behind me, "Sic 'im Yogi." In an instant her dog was upon me. I quickly learned that the only damage that Yogi was capable of doing was knocking down scared little kids and licking them to death. She obtained the effect that she was looking for though and was laughing hysterically at my panic and girlish screams.

Ashley and I instantly became friends after that. I told her that I was sorry about hitting her with the rock and she apologized for beating me up. Disputes were much simpler back then and a sincere apology was all that was needed to make up for any wrongs. She showed me where the rock had hit her. It had left a pretty good gash on her knee and would permanently leave a scar that she would always be proud of. We were inseparable for the rest of the summer. The fact that she was a girl never bothered me. She was more of a tomboy than anyone that I've ever met. We shared books, comics, and jokes that only we thought were funny. We had rock skipping contests on the pond in which she usually won. Our favorite game was trying to sneak up on each other and scaring one another. I have to admit that she made me scream a lot more than she did. She would always catch me sneaking up on her because I couldn't control my giggling. That summer passed by as if it were only hours long.

School came and went and we remained the best of friends. Ashley had instilled in me such a sense of self-worth that none of the other boys who teased me for being friends with a girl could get to me. Girls, and boys alike, teased her but it was usually behind her back because they were afraid of her. Life with her could be considered my wonder years. We shared adventures both real and make believe. She hated to read but loved to listen. We would sit on our favorite rock, back to back, and I would read a loud. Those were the only times in which she would be quiet and I was the one talking. Any other time she was running her mouth at full speed and I was the silent one.

Thinking of how talkative Ashley was, I couldn't help but smile to myself as I walked along the same street that I'd walked as a boy. Ashley and I had walked or ridden our bikes on this street thousands of times together in the past. It is as quiet now as it was way back then. Children could probably play catch in the street with only occasional interruptions from cars as we did so long ago. I came to the house where Ashley lived until she was sixteen. A new family had moved in and it had been repainted since then but it would always be Ashleyís old house to me. The porch swing had been removed but my memories took me back to a time when it still hung there, blowing gently with the slightest breeze.

The years after I met Ashley went by as if they were mere weeks. I was able to watch as she changed from a tall ten-year old girl to a beautiful young lady of average height and build. We didn't spend as much time together after we became teenagers, but we still remained the best of friends. We both found new friends of the same sex, yet we were never as close to anyone else as we were to each other. The time that we did manage to spend together was always well spent. She still talked and I listened. The pond was only a fond memory for us both now. We had moved on and would smile when we saw the ten-year old twins playing where we had once played so joyfully.

I can clearly remember when I noticed Ashley as the beautiful young lady that she is today for the first time. It was the end of summer and we'd just turned sixteen. I worked at the corner store for extra money during the week. Every day after work, I would go to Ashley's house. We would sit out on the porch and talk about each and everything until the mosquitoes became too much for us. One day, as I came to Ashley's house, I saw her lying on the porch swing. She didn't see me coming down the street so I decided to sneak up on her and scare her. I crept as quietly as I could to the porch and succeeded only in bursting into giggles at the thought of giving her a good scare.

"Well, it's obvious that you're no James Bond." she said without turning around.

I said, "I would have had you good if I hadn't started laughing."

"You would have had me good a lot of times if it wasn't for your laughing."

She still hadn't turned around to face me and I detected an unfamiliar tone in her voice. I walked onto the porch so that I could see her face but she just turned away from me. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"I guess that you didn't notice the sign, huh?" she asked sadly. In my futile effort to scare her, I hadn't noticed that a "For Sale" sign was in her front yard.

"When did your family decide to move?" I asked with a heavy heart.

She said, "Well, it isn't much of a family anymore. My mother and father are getting divorced. Dad is moving out and my mother can't afford to keep the house."

"Why didn't you tell me any of this? I didn't know that your parents were having any problems." I said. I hardly ever saw her parents so I couldn't have possibly known anyway.

"I tried to wish everything away and hope that things would get better," she said. "I never said anything to you about it because if I did, I would have had to face the reality of it." She turned toward me and I could see her tear stained face. I'd seen her cry only once in six years and that was when Yogi passed away. That was also the only time that she'd seen me cry. "I didn't even know that we were moving until I came home and saw the sign," she said.

"So, what are you going to do?"

"What else can I do? I have no say in this."

"Do you know where you are moving to?" I asked hopefully.

"We're moving in with my grandmother in Greenwood. It's only fifteen miles away," she added.

Fifteen miles didn't seem too bad. We sat in unbroken silence until nightfall. I wasn't going to leave her until she or her mother made me. I sat there, on the porch railing, still reeling over the shock of losing my best friend when I heard her sniff. I looked over at her and saw that she was crying again. I walked over and sat beside her. Without thinking, I put my arm around her shoulders. She didn't flinch or seem uncomfortable. She just snuggled closer and rubbed the scar on her knee that I'd inflicted so long ago. She always had the habit of stroking that scar whenever she was deep in thought. Even when she had on pants, she would still rub her scar through the material. We sat that way for what seemed an eternity. She broke the silence by saying, "Why can't life be as perfect as this?"

"I don't know," I answered and realized that she wasn't talking directly to me when I turned to look at her. She was looking up at the moon. The moon's glow enabled me to see the tracks of her tears and I realized, for the first time, just how beautiful she was.

I quickly looked away as if I'd just been caught staring at a stranger. I said, "I'm sorry, I thought that you were talking to me."

She said, "I was talking to the man in the moon."

I laughed, thinking that she was joking. When I looked back at her, I could see that she was serious. "You were talking to the man in the moon? What do you mean by that?" I asked.

"When I'm thinking hard about something, and I don't know the answer, sometimes I ask the man in the moon," she said. "It helps me to make some decisions or come to conclusions about things. I always feel better afterwards."

"Where does the man go when we can't see the moon?" I asked jokingly. "I've never heard him say much of anything."

Ashley was in her own little world at this time and my attempts at humor were wasted. She heard what I said though and replied, "I think that he goes to help others out when we can't see him. When he speaks to me, I never hear what he has to say with my ears, but I know what he's saying."

I'd always thought that I was the one with the imagination since I read so many books. I will admit to anyone that I lived in a fairy tale world but I had never thought much about the moon. I couldn't quite understand what she was saying and so I just let it go and stared at the moon with her.

"I'm going to miss you, Richard," she said after a few minutes of silence.

I was stunned be her utterance of those simple words. I wanted to tell her that I would miss her too but the words wouldn't escape my lips. I felt it but I just couldn't say it. All that I could do was look at her.

Maybe she saw that I was going to miss her too when she looked in my eyes. She sat up and pulled my face close to hers and we shared the first kiss of our lives with each other. All of my senses immediately came alive from her kiss. I'd never felt anything as soft as her lips, the taste was sweeter than anything imaginable, and the smell of her favorite perfume lingers with me to this day. I saw and heard the fireworks as they went off all around me. All of this happened in a span of a few seconds yet I remember it vividly after nine years.

That was the beginning of the end. Ashley moved away a couple of months after that. She told me numerous times before she left that she would miss me and then look at me expectantly for a reply. I would always find a spot on the ground, a hole in the wall, or something else to occupy my interest. We used to see each other almost every day. After that kiss, I avoided her like the plague. I didn't see her the entire week before she moved and I wouldn't have seen her at all if she hadn't come to say goodbye. I said goodbye without ever actually meeting her eyes. I went to shake her hand but she wrapped her arms around me with strength that I'd forgotten she had.

During the next few months, she would call me or come to see me whenever she came to visit her father who still lived in town. I would never call and I never made the effort to visit her. For the next year I tried to distance myself from her as much as possible. I hung out with friends that I could care less about and she knew it. She eventually gave up trying and told me so soon after my seventeenth birthday.

That was the last time that I saw her until last night. I've thought about her over the years and questioned myself about what happened between Ashley and I. I would tell myself that I was young at the time and wasn't ready for a serious relationship. That was the lie that I told myself for eight years. Ashley hadn't ever asked me for a serious relationship. She'd never asked for a relationship period. She assumed that our friendship was golden and that nothing would damage it. That is the way that it should have been. The truth was that I could've expressed myself and let her know how I felt, but I just wouldn't. A kiss, as sweet as hers, should have strengthened our relationship instead of destroying it.

My legs refused to move as I slowly came back to the present. I had been oblivious to my surroundings as I stood there in front of Ashley's old house. The porch swing, which was now missing, had been there in my mind. I could actually hear its creaks as it swung back and forth with the breeze. I didn't want to look away from the house, fearing that it would not be there the next time that I looked back. I had to fight myself to keep from running to the door and knocking to see if she would answer, as she'd done in the past. The sane part of me knew that strangers lived there now and that Ashley had moved on and so should I. I began to walk away but I couldn't help but look back to see whether or not Ashley would come running after me.

The morning after I saw Ashley in the store, I couldn't stop thinking about her. I thought about all of the good times that we'd shared and about how much I'd missed her. The thought of missing her brought back the memories of our first kiss and how I'd handled the situation afterwards. I began to have second thoughts about seeing and talking to her again, fearing that she wouldn't forgive me for the way that I had treated her. The optimistic and pessimistic sides of me were at battle again. The optimist kept telling me that I was being silly and that I should go see her as I longed to do. The pessimist told me to just let bygones be bygones. This time, the pessimist won.

I didn't try to contact Ashley like I'd told her I would. I treated her exactly the same way that I'd done eight years ago. Now, here I am, walking along an empty street, with nothing but my memories and the moon to accompany me. I let my feet be my guide and ended up at the place where it all began. Time had taken its toll on my beautiful pond. It had since been renovated and transformed into a park. Most of the trees that once surrounded it had been removed and park benches and ornamental lights had taken their place. I stood for a while and viewed the park with sadness. All of the landscaping and additional decor improved upon the area's looks but removed the charm that it once had. Although I am old enough to know that sometimes things change, I'll never be able to fully accept some of them.

I looked in the direction that I remembered my throne to once be, but even in the darkness, I could see that it too had been taken away. I walked to a bench that was located as far as possible from the street and sat down to think about everything. I thought about all of the changes that I'd witnessed in the period that I'd been gone.

My thoughts fell on my father. I could easily blame him for the way that I treated Ashley. If he'd shown me the love and affection that other fathers showed their children, then I would have been able to tell her all of the things that I felt. "How did my mother actually love him throughout all of these years?" I asked myself. I couldn't remember my mother and father hugging or kissing no matter how hard I searched my memory. Yet, my mother was always happy. She loved him until the day he passed away and will continue to love him until she joins him again.

I got up from the bench and walked closer to the pond. I picked up a handful of rocks and began skipping them across the water. Ashley and I would have rock-skipping contests on this very same pond. She won most of those contests back when we were kids. She was always better than I was at something or the other which always made her my most fierce competitor as well as best friend. "I think that I can beat her now," I thought to myself.

I threw rocks because I didn't know what else to do. I had so many questions and no one to ask who would give me the answers. I'd ruined the relationship with the one person that I could talk to. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head say, "When I'm thinking hard about something, and I don't know the answer, sometimes I ask the man in the moon. It helps me to make some decisions or come to conclusions about things." Ashley had spoken those words on the night that she'd said she was moving.

I looked up at the moon and then looked around to make sure that no one was watching. I thought to myself, "If it worked for Ashley, then it just might work for me. It won't hurt either way."

I cleared my throat and began, "Man in the moonÖ" and immediately realized how corny that sounded.

I began again by asking in a soft voice, "Why can't I change while everything else around me does?" Once that question was spoken, I continued my monologue without optimism or pessimism. I recounted all of the things that had transpired between Ashley and I once upon a time so long ago. When I got to the point in my life where I pushed her away, I told the man in the moon how I truly felt about her. When I was done, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had expressed emotions that I felt but failed to show. I told myself right then and there that I wouldn't go on another day without telling Ashley how I felt about her back then and how I feel right now. My father waited until death for me to find out how he felt about me. I wouldn't take that chance, not now, not ever. I had nothing to lose but I had a lot to gain. I scooped up another handful of rocks and smiled as I thought about the rock-skipping contests that we would have again. I'd forgotten that the moon even existed at that moment and the fact that I'd just talked to it was already a vague memory. I had a future, which was ten times as bright as the moon, to look forward to.

-------

The man in the moon witnessed the entire scene and heard all of the words that Richard spoke and at that moment wished that he could tell the young man all that he wanted to know. If he could have spoken, he would have told Richard how just last night, a young lady visited the very same spot. She skipped rocks, just as well as Richard did, until her arm grew tired. She then looked up at him and talked to him about her heart. He would have told Richard that he already knew how they first met and about their first kiss because she had told him about it. He would have told Richard that she kept up with him as long as she could and finally gave up hope. He would have told Richard that when she saw him again last night that her heart leapt for joy because it never gave up hope although she did. She said that she wanted to go to the funeral but she knew that she would see him there. Her feelings ran just as deep as he did. She spoke to him until she had nothing more to say, all the while rubbing the two-inch scar that was on her knee. Then she just stared up at his beauty in wide-eyed, childlike wonder as he stared unwaveringly back at hers.

Yes, the man in the moon would have told Richard all of these things if he spoke in sentences and paragraphs. The best that he could do though, was send a message to Richard's heart to let him know that it was okay to express his feelings to the one that he has always truly loved. If he could speak, there was one thing that he wouldn't have told Richard though. He wouldn't have told Richard to look behind him, for his oldest friend and first love was sneaking up behind him as she had done countless times in a forgotten past. Some things, such as a good scare, are just too good to miss.


The Man In The Moon by Leon L. King

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.


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