Lost Moon

October 6, 2011
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Her forehead rested against the steering wheel and she sighed, a soft exhale. The country was absolutely gorgeous. The sun, in all its majesty, was taking its final bow of the day; it knocked her breath away with the wind. Whips of cool, breezy air were like fingers running through her hair, braiding and untangling, like her mother once did…
She abruptly snapped out of her fantasy and thumped her head for good measure. That wasn’t her life anymore. Like the shameful person that she was, she’d run off with her tail between her legs, with only a small bag packed with the bare essentials. Unconsciously, she rubbed a hand across her stomach.
The subtle zoom and squeal of cars drawled behind her, like things come and gone in a flash. Her somber eyes half-lidded, memories of things come and gone passed by her like whispers. She’d once been carefree, looking forward to a successful future at Dale University, scholarship in sight. It was all in her hands; she could practically taste it. But she’d been stupid, an absolute fool, and her hands became slippery. What had turned from one moment of meaningless flirtation transformed into something of impurity and carnal desire.
And she was a coward.
That’s why I’m here, she thought. She couldn’t bear to see the look on her mother’s face, or the disappointment and anger on her father’s. But no matter however far she ran, despite the fact that she was already countless miles from home, didn’t stop her from seeing them, their piercing expressions of despair burrowing into her very soul.
A lively dinging on the dashboard pulled her back down to reality. A small red icon flashed in the dim light. She needed to get gas soon or she wouldn’t be able to keep on the road for another 15 minutes. She rummaged in her right pocket, and felt a familiar papery texture. Pulling it out, she flicked through the dry, green bills. About fifty. She’d at least be able to get 15 minutes somewhere. Shifting to drive, she merged onto the cracked road and drove ahead, oblivious to the passing setting.
She found herself suddenly in a small town, generally quiet despite the early evening. The hum of her convertible’s engine and the screaming dashboard pierced the thick noiseless air, and she became uneasy.
Like a stroke of luck, a neon sign flickered ahead. She could make out Diner’s Till Ten, although the ‘n’ in Diners was hanging by a single wire, twisting dangerously. Underneath, she noted, with a sigh of relief, a vacant gas station was awaiting her arrival. While she was at it, she might as well get a bite to eat, and she pulled into an empty space. She’d order something first, and get gas with the rest of her money after, or maybe find a map first…
There was the silly tinkle of bells when she stepped in. It was a small, humble and brightly lit café. Something that looked like it could have come out of the 70s. She even noted the old-fashioned juke box to the side. She smiled to herself- Roy had a thing with the 70s; he would’ve like it here. If only he’d come with her.
Pulling her jacket tighter around herself, she avoided curious looks as she made a beeline for the nearest stool at the bar. In a moment of habit, she snapped out her phone. 42 Missed Calls: Mom. She ripped out the battery.
As she buried her head into her arms, she could see the moon from a reflection in the window. But as clean white as it was, as round and beautiful, there was darkness about it. Though it continued to glitter in the sky like a white pearl, on this night of all others, it seemed a little more far away.

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