Rachel From The Moon

Rachel From The Moon

A Story by ScorpioSun

Inspired by a certain someone... :)

A girl called Rachel once told me that people are like the moon. “Every part of your life revolves in phases,” she said. “Everyone has dark faces they keep permanently hidden.”

I first met her in the park near my house, in an ocean of long grass between shallow woods. One night, sick of living alone and working from my tiny house, I left the glow of my computer screen behind and stepped out into a warm August evening.

At first I headed to my local pub and sat alone, gazing through the back window, watching the leaves suggest the hint of a coming autumn to the rest of the waiting world. I sipped an ale of the same golden colour that tinted their edges, but even before it was gone I felt that sitting here was just as much a waste as sitting at home working the job I hated.

Getting up, I went back outside and just walked. I didn't know where I was headed but I felt drawn to the sprawling green oasis that was the town's park, and by the time I passed through its rusting iron gates the night had arrived. It brought a faint chill in the air, August's way of making things ready for September in a few days' time.

The moon was crescent but bright, and I followed the park's winding path with my head craned up to stare at it, hanging there in a clear darkness peppered with light. Before I knew it I was surrounded by the wood's edges, and I stopped walking and smiled as I looked around me. Everything was lit by the moon, soaking its light until the long grass shimmered and the trees came to life with gentle shadows. A voice from behind made me jump, even though it was the softest I'd ever heard.

“It's beautiful, isn't it?” she said.

I span around and saw her standing there, looking up at the sky. Everything about her was dark �" her skin, her hair, her eyes, her clothes �" but there was a soft light about her that I could not fathom. She was round-faced and pretty, and she lowered her gaze and smiled at me, a pure smile of innocence.
“Yes...” I said, suddenly entranced. “Yes it is.”
I stared at her, hypnotised as she came over and stood by my side. “Sometimes I come here at night just to look at the sky,” she said, and when she looked back up I saw the moonlight glisten like water in her eyes.
“It is stunning,” I said, and looked up with her.

For a moment, everything fell quiet enough to hear the earth whispering to us through the trees, and then she looked at me and smiled. “I'm Rachel,” she said, holding out one hand.
I felt like crying but didn't know why. “I'm Ryan,” I said, and I took her hand. Her skin was soft, like it had never been used. “Where are you from?”
“The moon,” she said.
I began to laugh, but she didn't. “The moon?” I asked.
She nodded.
“Where do you live?”
“Nowhere,” she replied, looking around her. “Here and there, everywhere.”
I squinted, trying to peer into her eyes as they met mine, and they were as tranquil as the sea. “Where do you sleep at night?” I asked her.
She shrugged. “Wherever I can find.”
“Stay with me tonight,” I pleaded. “It's getting cold now.”
“The cold doesn't matter,” she said calmly, then she turned to leave. “Goodbye, Ryan. I'll see you again.” She began to walk away.
“Wait!” I called.
She paused and looked back expectantly.
“When?” I asked her.
“The next time we meet,” she smiled.
“Meet me at the pub,” I said, “where it's warm. Tomorrow night.”
Her smiled widened. “Okay,” she nodded.

I walked home alone. When I finally slept that night she appeared in my dreams, just like you would imagine the power of a distant sun appearing as a gentle twinkle in the night sky. I spent all of the next day riding the waves of waiting for her and then reigning in hope, just in case it turned out unfounded.

On the night I went back to the pub and saw her, and my whole body opened up with the same spectacular mix of joy and terror as seeing an adolescent crush. She was sitting alone, at a small table for two with a book and a cup of tea, and when my eyes caught hers I stopped and smiled. She was not even reading her book; it was placed neatly next to the round white cup, which she now raised slowly to her lips and sipped from without taking her eyes from me.

I sat on the chair opposite her, and she just watched me as if I were the most fascinating thing in the world. My mind raced, and yet it felt blank. “You drink tea?” I eventually asked.

She laughed, pure and childlike, and nodded. Then she told me not to talk about her, and started asking about me.

I'd never considered myself anything other than ordinary, not having lived a life worthy of talking about, but that night she asked so many tiny questions that she discovered things I had long forgotten, and she drew so much of me out that we talked until closing time.

Suddenly we were standing outside, the air unusually warm even for the end of summer. Rachel looked up at the moon, and I stood by her side and looked up too. “Home?” I asked. She just looked back down at me and smiled. “Goodnight,” she said, and began to walk away.
“Where will you sleep?” I called after her.
“I told you,” she replied, walking away. “Anywhere.”
“Stay at mine,” I said again, raising my voice to be heard. The thought of her having nowhere to sleep pained me. I wanted to run after her, but I felt as if chasing her would be like trying to capture the wind, or a shadow, so I stood still and watched her turn and smile.

When she disappeared around the corner I looked back up at the moon. It was waxing, hanging in a crescent as clear as the sun. Did she really come from there? Somehow I believed her. I walked home, slowly, keeping my eyes on the night sky all the way back. When I arrived I let myself into my small house and closed the door behind me, and suddenly it felt like the most meaningless place in the world.

I dreamed of her again, and the next day was even more of a mist than the one before. Work was impossible, a frustration of mistakes and daydreams, and that evening I broke free from the computer monitor's ghostly tractor beam and hurried out of the house.

It was a slim chance, but somewhere inside I knew she would be at the pub again. I went in and found the same table as last night, and she was there, waiting, smiling, with her book and cup of tea. I sat down in the same chair as before. “Were you waiting for me?” I asked her.
She nodded.
“How did you know I'd come back here?”
She shrugged. “I just had a feeling. How did you know I'd be here?”
I shook my head, and then laughed. “A feeling,” I admitted.

I asked her what her book was about, and she told me it was about people. “There's nothing more fascinating on earth,” she said. “People, faces.” She smiled at me. “Your face.”

I didn't know what to say, so I blushed instead. I never really knew what to say, but night after night I went back and she was there, and we talked about everything that had ever existed and ever would.

After almost three weeks, as I was leaving with her, she took my arm. “Let's go to the park,” she said. We went back together, walking slowly all the way, and I saw the dark blue ink of the sky lit up by a full moon, but I said nothing.

We passed through the gates, overgrown and listing, and the trees rustled softly in recognition of our passing. Soon we were walking across an expanse of grass blazing silver under the moonlight, and I felt my stomach open with wonder at the sight of it. Rachel stopped and bent to remove her black shoes, and walked barefoot over the grass, gliding.

We paused amongst a crescent of trees, and a breeze felt its way among their branches and reached our skin, pulling it out into goose pimples. I looked at her, and I was overwhelmed by the intensity of a feeling I'd never felt before. It wasn't even how beautiful I found her. It was how beautiful I found everything. The world was changed, and I felt like someone else. Without a thought I dropped to the damp grass before her, onto one knee. “Will you marry me?” I asked her.
She smiled down at me, a goddess haloed by the moon. “No,” she said.
I remained on one knee, speechless while time still crept past us like a dark stream. “Why?” I asked.
“I wouldn't be able to come and go as I please,” she said simply.
“Yes,” I smiled, and realised there were tears in my eyes. “You can live with me. The door will always be open. You can go wherever you please and I'll never ask.”

For the first time I saw her face melt, her smile normally so ready now distant and out of sight. She looked down at me as if unable to believe. “Then yes,” she said. “I'll marry you.”

I stood up and held her as gently as if she would break, and slowly, as slowly as the silver light's shadows stalked circles around the grass, I leaned toward her and pressed my lips on hers.

They were cool against mine, and I kissed her for so long it felt as if we had melted together. The full moon filtered through us like a prism, filling us with its light, filling me with a rush of life as subtle and as sure as spring shoots breaking through concrete. When we parted, she looked into my eyes for almost as long as we had kissed, then she smiled again. “Goodbye, Ryan,” she said, and she walked away toward the trees.

I stood and watched her, my heart beating so hard I was sure it echoed for miles in the air. I had never done anything rash or exciting in my life.

I went back home and tried to sleep, but only saw glimpses of her. I almost expected to see her next to me when I woke, but she wasn't there, even though it felt like she was close. Work was impossible that day, and I even went back to the park to see if she would be there, but it was bathed in sunlight and filled with people, and the place from last night was gone. I ached already, missing her.

Once the sun began to set and the shadows drew over everything, I went back to the pub, but her table was empty. Her absence turned slowly into panic and I looked all around for her, checking every table, waiting interminably for hours until closing time, and then I ran out and looked for her back in the park.

The moon was hidden by clouds, and I could see nothing in the darkness. I was out of breath from running, beads of sweat cooling on my forehead, and she was nowhere to be seen. I called out her name, but still nothing.

It was a long walk home, and I felt strangely hollowed, emptied.

There is a depth of terror that hides in waiting inside everyone, the horror of abandonment that will sting every living person at some moment in their lives. Some cover it over with denial, others cling to people to smooth it over, but it is always there, and now I was staring into it. She had gone.

Night after night I went back to that same table, and walked home through the park. When September turned to October, the rain came to bring the leaves down and the air became cooler, but still I went, every night. Each night I wished none of it had ever happened, and wished too that I would never forget. The whole park felt like her unmarked grave, and I would stand still and look up at the waning moon, and wonder if she had gone home.

On the night of the new moon, I stepped outside and looked up in wonder at the blank sky. Even with all of its star-crossed expanse it still felt empty. All I saw was absence, stretching all across. I stayed up late, researching, learning everything about its cycles, its swinging orbit and its precision, covering over the gap inside me.

When I finally slept that night it was as deep and dreamless as the new-moon sky, and while everything was still dark I heard her whispering to me. “Don't forget,” she said softly into one ear. “Everything moves in phases.” I was on the border between sleep and waking where nothing makes sense, drifting between the cycles of my own sleep. “This one is over,” she whispered. “It's time for the next.”

For a moment, as I fell back into the depths, she was there. She showed me the moon, and she showed me in some way that could never work to the waking mind how it was her home, and how she moved on the earth like its shadows and crescents. I reached for her and told her I was still waiting for her.

The next thing I knew I was awake and exhausted, the morning sunlight warming every colour in my bedroom like a painting. The dream had shaken something deep inside, and I lay for a while, feeling like I was recovering from something. I drew in a deep breath, but something about the air was different.

Rolling over, I stopped dead. She was next to me, lying propped up on one elbow, smiling. “Hello, Ryan,” she said. “I'm home.”

© 2012 ScorpioSun

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Added on November 1, 2012
Last Updated on November 1, 2012
Tags: moon, lunar, beautiful, stranger, girl, love



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