Cold Dark

I sit on old concrete steps, the Moon’s gold visage highlighted in the winter sky. Wisps of clouds move across the Moon, giving the illusion that it grows closer. My eyes focus in, and I think about how far away it is. The light envelops me. My muscles tense, my shoulders rise. I press my bare feet against the steps, feeling every crack and darkened crater. It’s a wasted effort. Any moment the Moon will suck me up towards its surface.

It does, and I’m alone in its ash, its cold. My toes go numb and I fall to my knees. My throat tightens. I gag. Home is so far away. I imagine my parents, family, and friends back on Earth, unaware of what’s happening to me. They will think I ran away, that I couldn’t handle it anymore. They will think there must have been something wrong with me. He was always the quiet one. They will think I didn’t care about them. If he had, he would have stayed. If I die, they will never know. No one will ever know. They will search and search and find nothing, no answers. My chest feels like it will implode. My body trembles. I try to focus on the Earth, visualizing myself transporting back. My tears freeze, encasing my eyes. Maybe I’m not meant to go back. Maybe I’m supposed to disappear into obscurity.

I inhale so hard it hurts. My eyes open. I’m home, but not completely. My chest is heavy and my breathing shallow. I’m alone. Something was left behind, lost in the cold dark. I look up to find it. I see only the Moon, now veiled by clouds. I wait for them to pass, searching for a distant silhouette of what I lost against the Moon’s glow. What shape will it take? How will I know what to look for? Is it too far away? It can’t be, the hole feels too big. My heart beats in a rhythm of desperate anticipation. There’s nothing, nothing I can see. I walk back inside to get warm. For a time I feel better. Days pass, then weeks and my grieving fades. Then I see the Moon.