For an hour we walked, searching the barren moon surface for signs of these elusive Moon bears. Honestly, I never expected to find a single one, but apparently that was the problem. Well, according to the “Woman on the Moon” that was the problem anyway.
“We’ve been at this for an hour, what’s the point?”
She turned to me and frowned, “Simmer down now, we still have plenty of Moon to cover.”
I sighed audibly, and shook my head. We still had to drag the weight around, which made walking more awkward and difficult. Another minute of searching passed before she spoke up again.
“So what’s their name, anyway?”
“What’s whose name?” I asked, more focused on my feet moving below me than the actually question.
“Their name,” She said, gesturing to the weight.
“Oh, her, er—that, I don’t know, let’s just call it Sally or something.” I said, looking over the horizon to see if there was, by some minuscule chance, a sign of the Moon bears. Suddenly the weight got a lot heavier, and I turned to see that my acquaintance or partner or whatever, had dropped it and was now standing with her arms crossed.
“What?” I asked incredulously.
“You know what.”
I just shook my head and ran my hands through my hair. I wasn’t about to get into it with her.
“I’m not sure that I do. Come on, let’s just go.”
She didn’t budge, preferring instead to stand resolutely and glare at me.
Now I was starting to get pissed. Let’s be real here: she had no business asking me about my personal life. I didn’t even know her, why should I just lay myself open like a book for her to peruse at her leisure?
“Why would I even tell you this? No offense, but I’ve only just met you. I don’t even know your real name!”
She raised an eyebrow, “Oh, so you tell your close friends all about this then, right?”
“Well… no. Not exactly.” She didn’t understand. No one wants to sit around and listen to my problems, because, well, they’re my problems.
She took a step toward me, “Gotcha, so you just keep all of your worries and whatnot tucked deep down inside, and you never talk about it to anyone. Great, because that’s healthy. Because that’s never gonna catch up with you.”
“Well, I talk about some stuff with…” I looked down at the ground, as if the name of my unknown confident was going to be scrawled along a Moon rock, but my gaze fell instead upon the metal ball. The woman noticed, and just shook her head, moving in a little bit closer.
“And what about when she’s the problem?”
I looked up at my… my friend, or whatever, and she looked back at me. Until now, I didn’t think you could see how much someone cared in the way they looked at you. It was weird to me—I’d only known her for a few hours now, but then there was that look in her eyes.
“Then… I don’t know.”
She smiled at me. Reaching up, her hand brushed the side of my face as she pushed a bit of hair from my eyes. I flinched away from the contact at first, but the look she gave me held me steady. Her hand lingered by my face for a moment more.
“That’s not a bad start,” she said, reaching a finger behind my ear and pulling something out from behind it. In the faint glow of the moon I could make out the faint silhouette of a key. She dropped it in my hand and gestured at the lock around my ankle. I reached down and placed it inside. It was a perfect fit. The chain fell away, but there was a black ring that circled my ankle where the cuff had been. I rubbed it with my thumb, gently at first, but then more vigorously when it didn’t come off. It was tattooed on.
“How did you…”
“You may not believe it, but the damn thing’s been there the whole time. Sometimes you just need a friend to show you where to look.”
I didn’t know what to say. Fortunately, I didn’t have to say anything, because out of the corner of my eye I spotted a movement on the horizon line. I pulled my friend down, and drew her face up next to mine so I could show her what I saw.
“Look, way out there.”
Bounding across the horizon was a sleuth of bears. A sleuth of bears frolicking across the Moon.