And Miss This?
(c) William Dameron
The moon drained the sunlight from the sky, leaving in its wake a red stain of clouds. If there had been any news of an eclipse, I couldn’t remember it. But it seemed right. It fit the occasion.
When Tommy finally showed up, he acted like he didn’t see it. That’s when I knew that he couldn’t, that he wouldn’t forgive me. So I held out my hand and said, “See, it’s right there,” pointing along my arm at the round light with a crescent of black at its edge. That’s when he started to cry.
“Jesus, Tommy, don’t do that. I told you it only happened once and it won’t happen again,” I said.
This was not the way I wanted to it to go. When I sent him the text message I hoped that he would remember all of the good times and forget the bad times. He would walk up to me the way he did the first time. He’d smile nervously and say that he forgot his watch and ask me if I knew what time it was.
“It’s the Golden time of day,” I said then and he cocked his head. His eyes and his crooked smile asked questions that his voice could not. I took off my sunglasses so he could see my eyes, see the answers. “It’s the title of a song, but it’s also my favorite time of the day when the sun creates this glow,” I said pointing to the glittering ocean.
He sat down next to me on my towel then, his shoulder touching mine and asked why I wasn’t going home to take a gay nap like most of the other boys did at the end of a beach day, resting up before heading back out to the clubs late at night. “And miss this?” I asked him and let it hang in the air.
Three years later and we still used that line. We’d be at the grocery store on a cold winter day loading the car, Tommy would look at me, his brown curly hair turning white from the snow, his hazel eyes red rimmed with the cold, and say, “And miss this?” Or late at night while lying in bed I’d stroke his hair and whisper, “And miss this?” Or the final time when my heart practically burst as we sat silently for what seemed like hours at the dinner table when he finally broke the angry silence and bitterly asked, “And miss this?”
As the moon passed in front of the sun the world became dark, I looked up at Tommy and waited to hear him say it. But the sound of the waves became too loud as the Earth broke free from the moon’s shadow.
It’s not the pain of dying that is unbearable, it’s the truth that’s unleashed. Like the glaring headlights of an oncoming car, not an eclipse, and the shattered pieces of windshield glass glistening like diamonds on the ocean. It’s the pain of letting go, the final release; dropping the phone and leaving an unfinished message.
There is a dark space between the sun and the moon, between what is and what should have been, and if you can’t connect the two, you have to accept what is missed.
William Dameron is a Boston based writer. You will find his work on his Blog, The Authentic Life, and The Huffington Post. He is happily married to Paul.