Moon Call

“Damn the Moon”, my grandmother used to say, and those were her better days. She’s used to not saying much, as long as I’ve known her, only her quiet muttered curses when cooking the family dinner every night. I knew they were curses since my mother cursed grandmother right back, also under her breath. When I was younger, I thought they were greeting each other. But something’s off; I sensed that. Grandmother has been alive for a long time, too long, according to her four sons and one daughter. I never did see my uncles often. They wouldn’t even come to my birthdays or the family holidays. But I see their faces on the family portraits on the wall—yellow and grainy as they were. I used to stare at them growing up; there wasn’t much else to do. My mother used to smack me on the top of my head whenever she caught me doing that. But I couldn’t help it. Their faces gave the lonely house I was living in a touch of reality.

The house I was living in was tiny, or maybe because I was in my single-bed attic room all the time. I didn’t care much for the rest of the house. They creaked threateningly whenever someone walked in the house or whenever I laid my head on top of my damp pillows and listened, unwillingly. I had no pets. My mother said that if I bring a stray home, she would let grandmother kill it and cook it for food. I believed her. After a while, I no longer desired to have pets, just as I had no desires for friends. It was peaceful in a way.

I learned to love the Moon, for I figured my mother and grandmother wouldn’t be able to catch the Moon and kill the Moon and cook it for dinner. I imagined the Moon to be quite crunchy and sweet some nights when I gazed at it; so much so my mouth would water. One time, my mother caught me staring at the Moon instead of the family portraits, and she smacked my head so hard I forgot what happened afterwards, until I woke up in a hospital room alone. I was mostly alone since then.

At first, I reveled in the big clean room where the doctors and nurses silently came and went. I tried not to stare at them for I sensed their dislike of me. Instead, I stared at the closed curtains, the metal trays by the bedside, the leathers on my ankles. They all looked alien to me, more alien than the Moon which now and then graciously traveled through my room’s window. I felt comforted and would fall asleep peacefully, only to wake up in an alien world by myself.

After some time passed, I was moved into another bigger room. This time with other people like me. Well, not quite like me, they were very noisy when they cried and fought each other for reasons I could not see. Only one boy shared my fascination for the Moon. Though, instead of gazing at the Moon during those nights, he would gaze at me. I do not remember his name. I don’t remember if we ever spoke. I was taught by the Moon, and the Moon doesn’t speak. But I think he might have understood me, through the Moon. He died one night while we were gazing at the Moon. I heard his last breath, and remembered it. I thought he was so lucky. The Moon must have spoken to him. The Moon must have called his name, and he answered it.

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