“Where are we going?”
Now we’d emerged, out from under the black veil and MG was dragging me briskly along.
“We’re gonna find you a ride back home,” she called back over her shoulder, “How good are you on physics?”
“Uh, I’m studying to be an engineer so…”
“That’ll have to do.”
We hustled along until we happened upon a parcel of flat ground, bordered by a few medium to large lunar rocks. MG situated me in the middle of the clearing and took a few paces back to the perimeter.
“Right, so, now we move back to basics.”
“What do you mean by that?”
She dropped low and scooped a little rock. Righting herself, she cocked back her arm, preparing to launch it up into the atmosphere.
“First off,” she began, releasing the rock and sending it arcing over my head, “Sometimes the littlest things in life…?”
“Weigh the heaviest on us?” I ducked my head a little in fear that I was about to get beaned by the rock, which looked real dumb considering how slow it was going.
“Right!” She called out, and the rock burst open, with a noise that was… I don’t know, somewhere between a burgeoning chrome supernova and the banging of a pot. However you describe it, it sure was loud, and I sought shelter under my arm as the rock transformed rapidly, unfurling in kaleidoscopic fashion into a cylindrical piece of metal. It landed with a clang upon the surface of the Moon in a perfectly upright position.
“Next!” She grabbed another, bigger rock in both her hands and prepared for launch, “You have all the answers, but sometimes you need…”
She heaved the rock up in the air and I watched it float across space like a comet before it descended back towards the ground. I began my answer as it bounced along the ground, a few feet away from the original piece.
“Err, you need a friend? Sometimes you need a friend to help you figure out what you knew all along.”
The rock started to shake, rattle and roll, turning into part of the hull and whipping its way through space on a collision course with the cylinder, forming the lower part of a rocket. It was so incredible, but it didn’t have the same shock value that it would’ve had a day ago back on Earth; on the Moon, the extraordinary was just part of the rote, and it was upon that note that I took on her next question.
“Alright, this one might be the most important lesson you’ve learned while on the Moon,” She stood next to a giant boulder, big enough that she expressed no intention of chucking it up into space, “Even when you’re all caught up in your little earthy problems, and you’ve got a hundred weights hanging off your ankle, remember to always-”
“… step back and enjoy the bigger picture?”
I wasn’t standing anymore, but laying on my back looking up at the Earth for one last time. All my problems were waiting for me back there, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about. I was thinking about how small they were, all concentrated in one little spot that I could barely even see from here. My whole life had taken place in a little pinprick point on Earth. There was so much left to see, and so much left to do. Deserts and oceans opened up before me, and just beyond my outstretched fingertips I could feel the ridges of mountain ranges reaching back. After the final piece of rocket had been installed, MG came over and lay down next to me. We dozed off for a couple of hours.
It wasn’t until a stray piece of paper drifted by and nudged me awake that I came to my senses again. My school supplies had made their way around the Moon and were now sailing back to me as I was lying with my friend.
Grabbing the paper and a binder to write on, I started my letter:
We can’t choose the ones we love, but often we do make the wrong choice.
It’s not that we’re stupid, or that it’s our fault that these things happen. It’s just that there’s a certain inevitability to wrongness, and that’s a part of life. Depending on how you look at it, that’s part of the fun. I’ve learned that I can’t let past wrongs I’ve committed alienate me from the rest of the world. Whether I’m two-hundred thousand miles away, or just a couple feet, I have to communicate with those who matter most to me.
I want to give my thanks to The Woman on the Moon for teaching me to step back and appreciate the world around me, whether that world’s the Earth or any other.
Writing this letter is just one small step for me, but a giant leap toward overcoming this eclipse of the mind. And I want you to know, I can feel the sun burning bright on the other side.
So we’ve come full circle. The Woman on the Moon read my letter and deemed me worthy of the flight back home. We boarded the ship and with thrusters engaged and sights on the distant horizon, my own personal spaceship took flight for Earth. We rocketed through space, and every atom in my being rattled along in harmony with the atoms of the ship. Even at the atomic level, we’re interacting, associating, dissociating, and forming bonds. There were times I thought I was meant to be alone, when I thought I was a single, lonesome hydrogen atom, but the truth of the matter is, even hydrogen is rarely alone. We prefer to travel in pairs. We’re diatomic like that.
Just one rocket ship and a two atoms of hydrogen hurtling towards Earth. The rest is for the stars.