In my whole life, there has only ever been one person who would lie in the woods with me and look at the moon, no matter how cold it was, just lie there, holding hands, or my head on his chest, not talking, just the moon, the dark around us, and the steady beat of his heart under my ear as I cast my eyes to the night sky. My Brad, from the time we were kids, until he went away to college, he was the only one who just did that with me…for me, because he somehow knew what it meant to me, though he never asked why. He never even knew how my moon romance began.
The last house we lived in with Bruce was in the country on an acre of land that bordered the woods. I only had to walk the expanse of the yard to disappear into them, my fluffy white little dog, Boodles, running along, playing while I found a clear spot far away from the house to hide completely from them.
When I was nine years old, I stopped believing in most things, mostly that I would ever be safe or loved. It hurt too much to think about those things. All of the lovely magical thinking that had been my buffer since I was a toddler was gone.
One night, while my mother and Bruce were fighting, I was hiding in the basement, when I noticed the moon through a tiny window. I quietly opened the basement door and walked out into the night, the grass cold and wet under my bare feet, and started running, across the yard, Boodles at my heels, all the way back to the woods.
As dark as it was, the moon was full and bright and I found my spot where the grass was soft, and lay down, flat on my back, my nightgown and hair dampened by the wet grass. I looked up at the moon, and my eyes became transfixed by its light. My breathing slowed, and my heart beat became steady, and it seemed there was nothing between the moon and me, as the woods around me disappeared, and I was only vaguely aware of the warmth of my dog, curled into the crook of my arm. That light wasn’t just in the sky; it was inside of me. I felt it radiating through my soul, warming my heart, filling the empty places, a warm light that wrapped around my bones. The moon had brought my magic back to me, and I stayed long into the night, until I knew I had to go back, and I carried some of the magic back with me.
That night was the first of many escapes to the woods, mostly when the moon was full, in all weather, whenever I could safely sneak away, I’d trek across the yard, sometimes with a blanket, or the reclining lawn chair when it was snowy, always with Boodles. In my mind, I can still see the tracks we made in the snow . The pain, loneliness, fear of whatever had come before would leave my body as soon as I set my eyes on my moon.
I still escape into the woods during full moons. Brad is of course gone, although I imagine he is watching me, understanding even more now. My dogs are not as calm and still as my little Boodles was, but the constant is my moon, which holds me and everyone I’ve ever loved. It is the same moon that gave me back my magic, and saves it for me, when I can’t seem to keep it for myself, and so I go and find it.