luna (2001)

It is terribly, terribly early in the morning, about 3 AM at this point, in fact. But I fell asleep accidentally on the couch reading, and then tossed and turned for hours. I tried sleeping in the bedroom (didn't work either) until I gave in, deposited the pug with the sleeping B. and just got up, to attempt t0 decipher what exactly my body's deal was.

I make a bathroom stop, throw on some loose clothes left on the floor there from yoga the other day, and ready myself to tiptoe out unto my back porch on eggshells to get some nicotine. On eggshells, because the cranky woman next door apparently is highly bothered by my going out onto the back porch in the morning to smoke. I know this not because she was a grownup and told me so, but because she whined to our landlord about being able to hear our door shut and smell the smoke from outside. Now, had she told me directly, I would have been as considerate as possible. But. But, she chose a bedroom right on the back door, to a hall we all share that leads outside and downstairs. And. And, I am the only tenant in the building that doesn't smoke INSIDE. If it's bothering her somehow when I am OUTSIDE, whatever would she do if I smoked in here, I ask you? And it drives me batty when people go third-party without trying first-party first. Okay, I am finished with my martyred smoker routine now. I now return you to your regularly scheduled insomniac.

I step outside, and what I can't miss are the unbelievably gorgeous clouds in the black sky, floating past her as she illuminates them from within; perfectly full, round, silver orb.

"Ah, it's you then, " I say inside my mind (if smoking wakes my neighbor, I can rest assured that speaking to planets at 3 AM would likely disturb her as well).

"Well, someone is up late," she says, in her own way, the way I can hear, or imagine I do.

"Try up early, " I reply. "You know me. At this stage in the game, I'm up for good now, like it or no. You rang?"

"Did I?" she says, head tilting slightly.

"Oh, don't be coy, Moonie. It certainly wasn't gas that woke me, or the sudden urge to alter my sleep schedule so that I could more closely resemble a wombat."

She parries. "Didn't know I'd be out here, did you?" Hmm. Sounds like a guilt trip, smells like a guilt trip, must be a...

I cut to the chase. "No, I didn't. I confess, I've been terribly lax in keeping track of your comings and goings lately. The whole last year, actually, I've been downright sloth-ly when it comes to paying you mind. I'm sorry."

I take a deep drag off my Camel, trying to exhale so the smoke goes to some other neighborhood, lest it disturb my neighbor.

"You don't need to be sorry...." she starts.

"Oh, bullshit," I cut in, waking up a little more. "Sure I do, or you wouldn't have dragged my sleepy ass out here into the cold at three in the morning." She inclines her round face towards my cigarette. "Oh, fine, it dragged me out here, but you dragged me out of bed in the first place."

"You really don't have to be sorry," she says gently. "I just thought that on Samhain, the end of the year happening at this moment -- fortuitously, when I'm full, twice this month, no less, and I'm not just saying that to flatter myself -- you might want a little reminder to pay a bit more attention to me in the coming year. You used to pay me lots of attention..."

"If you begin singing 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers,' I warn you, I will utterly lose my mind. Plus, you'll wake the neighbors."

"My apologies. The point is, we used to spend whole nights together a decade back, our gazes locked, and I do think it was very good for you, if I recall rightly. I know you've changed some as you've grown, but I think you can figure out a way to work paying me mind into your current practice, can't you?"

She's right, of course (how could the moon be wrong?). I have left her by the wayside lately, and it used to be that the sight of her face could make my eyes tear up and my heart ache. Everywhere I traveled, I would find her, and I would center myself and remember that everywhere she was was my home; I was always home in her presence. I would bay at her, weep with her: ten years or so back, I spent a night on the cliffs at Exmoor with her, feeling the hard winds try and pull me into the waves, staring at her for strength, feeling her power. Many, many a time she has filled my limbs with passion and fuel and fire that I've shared and sated howling, growling, gripping the body beside and within me. Few things in life are constant, and the moon, in her way, and in her inconstancy, is one of the most constant things I know. And I do miss her, and I smile at her cheek, at her strong ego, at her feminine wiles, at her glow; luminously quiet but intense as burning embers.

"Yes, I certainly can," I say softly. "I've truly missed you."

"And I you, lass, " she says, and I realize she sounds astoundingly like me. Now, isn't that odd. "I don't mean to be hasty, but I will have to go soon, and I've a few more folks who need a talking to before the night's up."

"I understand completely. And I need caffeine before I get a migraine anyway. Power of the moon or no, I'm an addict. Thanks for the reminder. What do you say, same time next month?"

I feel her smile over my face, softly silver and shimmering, with a chill that always reminds me how transitory each moment is, even in constancy, even in those things which are timeless.

"I'd like that very much," she says, grinning insouciantly as the clouds caress her cheeks and her face fades a bit.

"Me too," I reply, smiling, making quiet resolutions for the upcoming year, silently reaffirming those things I am loyal to, those things I wish to surround myself with, those things I wish to remember to savor and appreciate. However, starting my day at 3 AM isn't one of them. I thought I was done with that when I stopped working the Farmer's Markets. "But can we make it, say... 6ish instead next time?"

She just gives me that look. That's what I thought. Oh well. My neighbor will just have to deal. You can't negotiate rules with the moon, and hell if she cares if you're sleeping when she wants your attention.

Thatta girl.

© 2001, 2004 Heather Corinna. All rights reserved.