The moon decided not to wait for darkness, so it has crept into the daylight. Yawning wide, it spills yellow light all over the pale dusk and drinks in the warmth of the evening sun, which hangs golden and foreboding in the sky. The naive run barefoot and breathless to catch a look at the way the world is shining, but the superstitious take one look at the strange light and draw their shutters closed.
The man behind the counter prayed that he wouldn’t wake up today, and in the closeness of dim morning he cursed bitter existence, hating, hating it all. Tired of fighting, he dropped empty fists and swallowed the emptiness whole, choking on the hollow taste that lingered. His father never told him what a man is to do when he has nothing left to lose.
Dying pink houses slumber side by side, smiling sleepily at each other through sagging curtained eyes. Their faces are framed by the twisted remains of a vine-choked fence and their windowpanes are clouded, destroyed by anger and age. At the end of the silent street, one blue door swings out into open air, hanging from a single hinge that some midnight wanderer failed to strip away.
She would curse his recklessness if she saw him now, but he’s in the yard alone, watching the strange moon shine above the home that they built together. Traces of a deadly cough linger in his chest, and the way he shivers makes him smile as he hears her bright voice ringing in his mind. She would threaten to kill him, she would be forcing him into a coat, laughing at his indignation. Cold anger, twisted fists. Why, why did he want to see the moon? It only reminds him of the world that slipped between his helpless fingers while he stood and watched her fade away.
An empty yellow bicycle stands crooked on the curb, something bright in the darkest corner of an even darker town. A distant window holds the glow of a neon OPEN sign, which illuminates a grimy aquarium that sits wedged between a cash register and a jar of change. Something gray and silent makes the water tremble as it moves listlessly from one end of its narrow prison to the other—waiting, waiting, waiting.
The girl in the workshop is afraid to move one step closer, but she can’t draw her eyes away from her father’s calloused hands. He’s spinning wires together with delicate precision, his dirt-streaked face the picture of concentration until the moment he hears her soft footsteps. She freezes at the sight of his motionless hands, holding her breath, terrified until he breaks into a gentle smile and gestures to his daughter. She runs to pile automobile magazines into the nearest chair and climbs onto the stack, hugging her knees to her chest, content as she watches him work his quiet magic.
They have forgotten why they were ever supposed to care, and the realization feels like electric freedom. The music hums, low and thrumming, from the doors of their open pick-up trucks, and manicured fingers tap along to the beat as they lean against tailgates and laugh so loudly that their voices reach the sky. The fire of revolution is in their veins and they are smiling, smiling, as the streetlight paints them all in shadows. They are forgetting their worlds as easily as they’ll forget this drunken night, and they are drowning out the noise, they are drowning out the silence, they are drowning out the breathtaking and the terrifying, the mundane and the beautiful.
these are the in-between moments,
the loose ends of ragged time,
the souls that no one is waiting for,
the stories that make up the world.