And afterwards through the years he watched it come and go in phases. Sometimes full, more often on the rise or fall. But always more distant than he could understand.
Those who weren’t close to him could never see the true image of his emotions. To them he offered the idea instead of the reality. They were given snapshots to study, to hand around and discuss. To them the moon was always full even if clouds sometimes passed overhead to filter the light.
But to those he loved, for whom pretense was too heavy a cloak to wear, he let the waning and the waxing of his feelings serve as a true source of illumination. They could never understand—as he couldn’t himself—this painful rising and falling of light and love, why sometimes the moon was full and other times it was only a sliver in the night sky.
If he had the wisdom to see through space he’d know that he’d hidden his heart on the moon as a legacy to his father. And that within the crater where his strongbox was hidden lay another heart that had once so significantly lightened and darkened his world. He’d know that he’d been taught the mechanics of love as if an automatic switch regularly flipped love on and off to keep it from overheating. And that the heart learns its lessons from pain, passing them intact from one generation to the next. So that one day if the cycle isn’t broken the moon will grow dark and heavy, overpopulated with hidden hearts.
Somewhere long ago, he hid his heart on the moon. Near where his father and his father’s father had once hidden theirs.
And one day if he doesn’t make the journey to retrieve his hidden self, his children will go off to hide their own treasures where darkness falls in a consistent ritual.
A friend wrote me in response to “Pretty White Gloves” with a story of her own. I offer it here to hopefully provide my readers with the same inspiration it offered Amy and me. I’ve changed the names of my friends to Susan and Marshall since, not surprisingly, my friends were too modest to allow their real names to be used.
A very moving story. It especially touched me as Marshall and I had an experience just this morning arriving home from D.C. on the all-night Amtrak train. A fellow passenger, a very obese woman with a 9 month old baby in a carrier with a handle, struggled to gather herself, a suitcase, numerous bulging bags and her baby as the train pulled out of the Back Bay station. She began to cry…she had missed her stop. Then they announced that it was 7 degrees in Boston. We sat watching for a long painful moment. Then, no longer able to just watch, we offered to help her, wondering—as I am sure she was—what was she going to do. She said the baby was all wet, she had peed on her blanket. So she threw another blanket over the baby, actually covering the baby’s head as well. The baby cried and she shouted at the unhappy infant. I noticed that the mother didn’t have any gloves. I offered her mine which she refused. So I just put them in one of her bags and said she might need these. Anyway, to make a long story short, we eventually called the conducter who joined us in helping her get off at South Station, and he hailed a red cap telling him to get her a cab to North Station so she could get to Back Bay. Marshall stuck some money in her pocket.
We wondered if she ever made it and also worried about the baby, and wondered about its future and the condition of the mother. I cried as she slowly trudged her way along the platform following some distance behind the red cap. Your story certainly brought back the memory of this heart-wringing morning so vividly and with such sadness.
Your writing was powerful, and compassionate.
Thanks, Paul, and for giving me the chance to tell you about our experience.
Thank you Susan for sharing your wonderful story! And for reminding us how possible it is to be true to a vision of our best selves.
‘Refractions of Love’ is the Second Rock Trick in “How To Train A Rock” by Paul Steven Stone, available on Amazon.com. To learn more about Lo Galluccio, Boston area poet, writer, songstress and avant garde performer, go to www.logalluccio.weebly.com or firstname.lastname@example.org