Red Moon

April 14, 2011
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My alarm clock started squawking, as always, at six o’clock in the morning. I stirred ever so slowly beneath my cocoon of sheets and covers. The comfort of my bed was seducing me back to sleep. My alarm continued to scream in its regular intervals all the while. With what was probably only a few seconds but felt like several hours, I threw off the covers and firmly slapped the top of my alarm, finally silencing the racket. I lumbered about my room, opening curtains, turning on lights. The day was just beginning to show itself, the sky still stuck between the dark night and a clear blue sky, the moon still hanging in the sky as though to protest the common sun. The sight outside of my window was the same as every day. My neighbors’ houses carried away from me, running along the road till they turned out of sight. Wind-swept trees speckled the backyards and front lawns, and a lonely car was parked on the road. The suburbs, in all their majesty.

The news was spouting something about there being a red moon tonight, nothing I could be bothered about. There wasn’t much I could be bothered about these days. I seemed to be viewing the world through a gray haze that morning. My family rushed about in their usual routine, eating food, packing lunches, pushing papers back into their respective bags and suitcases. I munched down on my cereal, staring into my bowl as though it was the most interesting thing on earth. At that moment, it really was. My family commented on it in passing, cracking jokes about me being a moody teenager and the sort. It was irksome at best. I continued to attempt boiling my milk with my vision until it was time to go. I grabbed my back and left for the bus stop.

It was a mild autumn day, cold enough to get away with wearing jeans, warm enough to get away with wearing a t-shirt. More than that, it was another day at high school. Everybody was moving to and fro, going to lockers, talking with friends, trying to sneak in one last kiss with their girlfriend or boyfriend before the first bell rang. All these teenagers going about, all contained within their little bubbles, oblivious to the outside world.
“I suppose it can’t be helped,” I thought. Suburban teenagers always tend to get caught up in their own affairs. The real world is a scary place. There are starvation, war, taxes, jobs. Not many teenagers want to throw themselves into that. Hence we go here and there, stress about grades, about how our best friend just kissed the boy/girl we like, and so on. I didn’t want any part in it. I just wanted to grow up and leave into the real world. My family said I was being an angst-filled teenager, but my angst was more rooted in my desire to not be a teenager.
First bell rang, same as everyday. Went into my first period classroom, same as everyday. I sat down in my seat, same as everyday. My teacher took attendance, same as everyday. We said the pledge of allegiance, same as everyday. My teacher started talking, same as everyday. Or so I thought.
“Okay everybody,” he said, clapping his hands together to grab the wandering attention spans of the class.
“We have a new student joining us today!” All of the heads in the class immediately swung round to the seat that he pointed at.
“She moved here just over the weekend…” The rest of his speech tuned out. She was breath taking. Absolutely sublime. The word beautiful could be deemed an insult. She had the face of an angel, her hair perfectly complimenting her shining eyes. It was like being struck by lightning, like walking out into a blizzard from a roaring fire, like shining ray of light striking through the darkness. My stomach fell to my feet as though someone dropped a block of lead down my throat. I caught myself staring, and quickly turned around.
“So as you know, there is going to be a red moon tonight. This is because of a partial lunar eclipse. Who knows what exactly that is?” I couldn’t focus on class, and I wasn’t sure why. I found myself making any excuse to look at the new girl. I don’t think I ever got up so many times to sharpen a pencil as I did that class period. What was wrong with me? Why did one girl I hadn’t even seen before so suddenly enrapture me? I resolved that I would talk to her one way or another by the end of the day. Surely she wasn’t any better than the rest of the ditzy girls in my school.
To my infinite dismay, first period ended. She quickly vanished amongst all the other students trying to get out of the classroom to continue moving through their teenage bubbles. I suddenly became very self-aware again. Perspective is a b****. Here I was swooning over some girl I probably would never see again once graduation hit. Hormones be damned, I wasn’t going to become a hypocrite to myself.
And yet there I was, come lunchtime, looking about the cafeteria for the girl who so suddenly entranced me. I saw her sitting by her own in some foreign corner. I had to be subtle. You can’t just walk up to a random girl and expect them to welcome your conversation. And yet that’s just what happened.
“Mind if I join you?”
“Go ahead,” she said with the mind of smile that could melt ice. We exchanged pleasantries and the sort; names, where she came from, where I was from originally, phone numbers, and so on.
“So, how are you liking the area?” I asked, striving to learn a bit more about her.
“Well, truth be told, I haven’t actually seen anything. I moved here Saturday and spend my weekend unpacking all my things. Maybe you could show me around?”
I’m pretty sure my jaw had never hung so low in that split-second before I recomposed myself.
“Of course I will! We can drive around a bit; I’ll introduce you to some of my friends. Sound like a plan?”
“Sounds good to me,” she said with a smile. Right on cue, the bell for the end of lunch rang. Rush of movement once again as everyone scrambled to get to class before or after everyone else. “I’ll text you my address later,” she said as she collected her things. I sat in a daze for half a minute, watching her disappear into the crowd. How did that just happen? My phone buzzing brought me out of the trance. It was a text from her. I read it, and did a double take. She had texted me my own address. Closer inspection, however, proved it to be the house next to mine. She was my next-door neighbor. I didn’t even know my old neighbors moved out.
I drove home following the final bell. I always got home about 5 minutes before the bus thanks to my more direct route. I watched out the window, waiting for the school bus. There it came, right on time as always. There she was, walking across her front lawn. I watched her till she disappeared within the confines of her home. A few minutes later, I got a phone call.
“Hey! What’s up?” I said in the most nonchalant manner possible.
“I’m afraid I have to cancel the tour for today. There’s still a lot of unpacking I need to do. Maybe another time?”
“Oh, okay. It’s all good. When do you want to actually meet up?”
“Well, if you can get out, you should meet me for the lunar eclipse tonight. I’m planning to take some pictures.” I quickly accepted and worked out the semantics. A late night rendezvous with a girl I had only just met and yet was falling head over heels for? This was definitely a new experience.
I won’t ramble on with the details of our little meet up. I was groggy due to the hour at which the actually moon came out, but when I did go out, I saw her there, shining in the moonlight. We sat in the grass and gazed at the stars and moon. As we talked we moved closer to one another, foreign fingers finding themselves interlocking with my own. As the night drew to a close, we exchanged a single kiss.
That night, the worldly troubles seemed very far away. Not a single solitary thought of the “real world” pierced my bubble. It was a daze, but it is one that we all go through. She was my first love, as we all must have the first to have any others. The moon only becomes red for a brief time, but that time is what sticks so clearly in our memories. Many decry teenagers as being selfish and lacking perspective, but it is necessary to be such. That night, I matured a little and became a little more ready for when I did enter the world.
As she left, I looked up at the red moon, and saw myself.

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PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm
this is a really unique peice  i really enjoyed the unique way that you wrote it and the story itself is very good too  keep up the great work !  could you please check out and comment on my story Numb.  I would really appreciate the feedbakc
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