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He had always seen her; felt her radiance on warm summer nights and her chilling penetration during a crisp winter’s dusk. But he hadn’t ever noticed her. It wasn’t until he was walking home on the eve of his seventeenth birthday, when his attention diverted toward the sky in response to a brisk breeze that caught his senses off guard.
Her sheer magnificence took his breath away and he reached his hand toward the sky to graze her rounded edges. The disappointment of being too far away was quickly dissolved when he gasped at the way her beams landed on his skin; illuminating an involuntary quiver.
“I vow to love you forever, for you are the only being to open my heart in such a way as this.”
The moon smiled a coy smile and replied, “The only way for me to repay such a gracious notion is to allow any and all light I may have to guide you through your troubles, ease your sorrows, and reveal all beauty in moments of true bliss.”
And so both kept their vow.
The boy ventured out the next night and laid a blanket on the grass that glistened with the aftermath of an afternoon storm. With his hands behind his head, he sighed a magnificent sigh and attempted to absorb every bit of light she gave.
“How could I have lived seventeen years on Earth and am only now noticing how stunning you are? Is it possible for me to ever recover those wasted moments?”
“My dear, all things must have a clear beginning and end. While security wavers and wanes in between, there is some solace in the certainty of a catalyst that sparks a fire such as ours.”
For hours, the boy told the moon all about his hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities; only pausing when he was distracted by a shooting star.
It was well into the night when his mother emerged and called for him to retire to bed.
“Sleep well, my darling,” whispered the moon. She clothed the boy in warm moonbeams when he was settled into bed, allowing one to kiss his cheek. In that moment, she realized how vibrant her light had become since encountering the boy the previous night, but couldn’t ignore the dense feeling of darkness that emerged over her.
When the boy woke the following morning, he cursed the harsh rays of the sun. He couldn’t help but resent it for overshadowing the magnificence of his beloved moon, but found solace in the realization that he could spend the day with her.
Water lapped around his sandy toes and he smiled at the tickles it sent up his legs. The waves rose and fell, welcoming him deeper into their salty embrace. A squeal of delight escaped as the moon wrapped a wave around him and pulled him in circles. They played and laughed and fell deeper and deeper into a pool of love in which he desperately hoped to drown. When both had tired their senses, the boy floated weightless in the calm of the water, scrunching his nose at the dancing breeze. He was convinced every tremor that emerged from the surface of the water was another sensual whisper from the moon, reassuring him of her undying attention and devotion.
The affair continued for two more nights until he could no longer ignore the diminished light his love gave. Her disposition seemed skewed and strained; causing him elevated concern for her well-being. At first, the change seemed only to affect her. The boy could compensate for the difficulty in her smile by cracking more jokes and the drop in warmth from her rays by wearing more layers when he ventured out at night. But it continued to falter until there was nothing left but a sliver of the moon he knew and loved.
He traced his steps back over the last few days in order to pinpoint the exact moment her feelings had changed, but he was unsuccessful. The withdrawal from her affection was a breath short of unbearable, and when he thought he could take the bone-chilling distance no more, something changed. The sliver of light grew larger and her vivacity grew stronger and the boy was convinced that the darkest times were over.
“I’m so sorry, my darling.”
She was forgiven without a moment of hesitation, of course, because his love for her was one that could not be swayed by what could only be a strange astronomical anomaly.
The moon did her best to make up for the pain she caused by harnessing all of her power into sparkling beams that shone like diamonds in the night, and choreographing spectacular figurations of waves that danced around him, attempting to shield him from the harsh rays of her daylight nemesis.
A night finally came when the moon was at a point of incandescent perfection, similar to the night the pair professed their love for each other.
Tide was at a highpoint and the electricity of love prickled the boy’s skin as he ventured toward the water’s edge. He sought a new level of intimacy that would fuel the fire they had started and burn the troubles of their past.
Each step he took pushed him deeper in the water and deeper in love. Fireflies swam through her moonbeams and the boy allowed himself to be carried away by her magnetic embrace. The moon felt her heart fill with a boundless affection that overflowed and drenched the boy. Receiving her with a gasp, the two fell into a rhythmic push and pull from which he euphorically emerged.
Neither knew—or wanted to admit—that the balance of nature must always be set, and every wave must eventually crash.
The boy found himself falling into a deep confusion when the moon’s light began to dwindle as it had before.
Falling to his knees he called to her, “My dearest, I love you more than there are stars in the sky. Please, come back to me.”
With a heavy heart and an anchor attached to her soul, the moon was unable to lift her sorrowed spirit enough to reply. Darkness had overcome almost every bit of her being and all of her energy was required to keep herself lifted in the sky, for if she were to indulge the boy, the last bit of radiance she was holding onto would float down and ricochet off the stars before landing and drowning in the water with which she loved to dance.
These cycles continued, and both became more manic in their need for each other during the times where she could be present, and in times of confused distance, the darkness grew to be so uncomfortable that the boy could feel it deep into his muscles.
“I want nothing more than for you to be whole, again,” he whispered to the dully lit sky.
It was becoming more and more difficult for them to distinguish between pure love and tainted desperation.
Finally, the moon called the boy to meet her at the coast. It was the night before her fullest peak, but she had to repress the ache for his love to do what she had always known was inevitable.
“You do know how much I love you?” she asked.
He took a step close to the edge. “Of course; and you know how much I love you.”
She pulled the tide out and away from him. “Then you know why I can’t continue this vicious cycle.”
He took a larger step, trying to connect with her. “This cycle isn’t your fault; I can’t live without you.”
She pulled the tide out farther and refused to let the wave break.
“Let me touch you!” Frustrated, the boy dived head first into a vast and dark ocean that he couldn’t tame. When he his broke the surface, he furiously slapped the water in a frantic attempt to grab hold of her beams.
The moon attempted to manipulate the waves to force him to shore, but he kicked and swam with all of his might to resist. Once again, the forces of nature took hold and he was overcome with exhaustion. She gently carried his body to shore and kissed his skin with the lapping water.
“I will always love you.”
“Don’t go,” he groaned, reaching toward the sky.
“I know better than anyone how vindictively the tide can change. But it is my battle, and I can’t be selfish. I must face it alone.”
The boy let out a savage cry as she withdrew her beams. It echoed through the night and startled the stars until he was unable to control the monstrous sobs that rose and fell more ferociously than any tide his love could create.
A lesson difficult but necessary to learn, he soon realized that he could never fabricate enough light to make up for that which she lost, and he was powerless against the vendetta nature held against her. It is true that the wildest flames will retreat the fastest and the largest waves will crash the hardest, and to love the moon would unrequitedly bring his strongest happiness and greatest sorrow.