“The moon rose over the beach. The palm trees were majestuous. I drank it all in, turned toward the restaurant and took a deep breath. I knew I had no other option but to turn and face reality. I was astounded the palm trees still stood when everything around them had been destroyed. Only the facade of the restaurant was still standing, the restaurant’s banner dangling like a forgotten marionette between two poles high above it.
The moon too looked royal. It was that time of the year when the moon was so close to the earth it looked almost reachable. Almost. As I stood there, I remembered one of my English classes at school. I must have been 13, or 14, it was the same time of the year. One of the students mentioned the moon phenomenon to our very imperialistic teacher, who then spent the rest of that class teaching us about all the different expressions and meanings the word could have: to ask for the moon, to promise the moon, once in a blue moon, and many others. I remember them all.
My favourite had been ‘over the moon’.
My biggest surprise had been to learn that lunatic too came from the moon.
It made sense, if, once in a blue moon, you get over the moon promising the moon to a young and desirable woman you have been mooning about for quite some time, even though she never asked for the moon, you might end up crying for the moon and totally lunatic.
It is getting cold. I should better move now. Lest they come and get me.
“Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun”
I have to remember to thank O. for warning me. I hate to think that if he hadn’t I would probably have already looked like those poor lifeless souls they asked me to lie about.
I haven’t even had time to tell Sorayia.
Sorayia, Sorayia, Sorayia.
When and why did you lose faith in me? When did you start following me? When did you find out? Why did you never tell me?
It has been such an arduous journey for me. Another deep breath. The sea, the moon, the iode, the palm trees. I am not afraid. I am sad. I feel such an immense sadness, almost equal in scale to that of the country, both its infrastructure and its human material. I know I have taken the right path. I had no choice. Not after what they did. I could no longer lie. I had to stop it.” …
A shadow moved behind the palm trees. Another man
“Yes, I can see him. What a fool! Why did he stop there? What is he doing now? I cannot believe he is talking to himself. Maybe he is praying? What a fool. He had it all. Why did he change his mind mid-course? Why did he move his bet to the wrong horse? We all make choices in life. We all have to pay for our choices. Oh! Damned trees. They are in the way now. They are blocking my view. Who is the idiot who planted those trees here? Where is he? Damn! Where did he go? I can’t believe I have lost him. He must be hiding in the building. I will catch him all right. And I will give him a private lesson before I hand him over. That traitor! Filthy traitor. What a stench here! … “
He goes in, behind the standing façade there is nothing but emptiness and the city lights glaring at him with a smirk. Or so it seems to him.
… “I will get you, you son of a bitch. May your mother and father burn in the fires of hell!”
What was that noise?”
In the meantime, A. had managed to reach the centre of town, unaware he narrowly escaped his faith.
“The streets are so calm. What has become of my country? What have we done? Are we really no better than animals? Am I a coward for running away, as Mirna implied yesterday? I should have taken her with me. No. She will be fine. Her uncle is an important man. … Not that it means that much anymore: so was I, an important man, of sorts.”
“What was that noise? It came from the beach. That was loud. I am lucky I did not stay. It must be the full moon bringing me luck. At long last.”
(January 29th, 2014)