by Denise Patricia Lontok
The afternoon sunlight streams through the spaces left uncovered by the black-grey curtain, creating several limbs of soft yellow lines embracing the disoriented state of my bedroom, with books tousled at the foot of my bed, letters and empty papers hiding in between the sea of blankets – a blanket, a border to the restless unhinged city that is my body; another to keep the endlessness of cold nights from sinking too deeply in my skin; and another layer crumpled at the head of my bed, an alternative to pillows stained with 2 AM tears.
The sky has a lovely golden heart, stretching a part of it into my bedroom, partly trying to reach out to me, to keep my cheeks warm with its motherly touch.
The lazy afternoon has always been the protagonist of the show, brimming with dandelion-colored spotlight and the slow, calm pace of the universe; butterflies and birds whispering into each other the loveliest flower they’ve seen the whole afternoon; the heat pressing against newly washed clothes hung on the rooftop, with the intermittent tethering of the wind and the fabric creating a serene music; children dusting off the soil from their tiny experimental hands; and the shuffling of the thin, brown leaves on the sidewalk as cars moved past, slicing the air and briefly allowing the autumn leaves to perform ballet with the wind.
This show ends with the fading music of children’s giggle and the footsteps of neighbors entering their houses, until finally the stage is cocooned in darkness, the gentle moon replacing the celestial queen of the earth. It appears in the sky without a single sound, drifting somberly in space, refusing to share glances with any of the stars gathered around it.
Each night, with the certain understanding only the silence and the nodding of my pen can recognize, the moon and I have become each other’s companion. Unlike the afternoon sunlight always carrying the naivety of happiness, the moonlight performs shadows on the buildings and the gutters, and orchestrates the sound of white static noise from the neon signage of bars and convenience stores singing along with the dying flicker of cigarettes. The moon has mammoth eyes and it sees the lump in people’s throat, the regression of words back in their lungs, all untold, all burning. In its meekness and unverified intention, it dips enigmatically behind clouds, observing from afar and paying attention to the intricacies of the way the world cradle darkness. It witnesses the truth skinning itself more vulnerable. It sees me, and through an untranslated language, it already knows the words reverberating in my skull, struggling against reality.
Tonight, the moon remains unfazed by the luminescence of others, and instead listens silently to the wistful pondering of the universe.