Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 105: The Honey Moon

A shot of tonight's moon- by the river in Hayang.

Moon of mountains, why do you smile upon the world below so blissfully?
Seemingly unaware, unaware, it seems of all the troubles beneath your smiling eyes.
Far above me, against the evening sky, a pearl to a pearl at Heaven's throat
A pearl on the velvet choker, tight. Velvet choker of the night at Heaven's throat.

June 13, 2014

A few headlines popped up about tonight's "honey moon," the full champagne-colored moon that arrives in June. This is the first time in 100 years that this moon has made an appearance on a Friday the 13th, which is really neither here nor there to me. The moon graces us with her fullness once a month, and I know this because there have been 4 since Gareth died.

It's interesting to me the things that end up being extraordinarily painful after we lose someone. Some people have difficulty returning to a favorite restaurant or even entire city. A particular song may stop a grieving person in his or her tracks and knock the breath right from their lungs. My aunt recently told me of unexpected crippling grief hitting in the aisle of the supermarket when she suddenly found herself in front of a favorite food item of her daughter's.

I get that.

Some things and places I've reintroduced into my life- a favorite restaurant in Daegu, the path along the river where we walked numerous times, cherry tomatoes, grapefruit-scented body spritz. The list of things that have deep reminders of Gareth is long and sometimes nonsensical. Sometimes I'm prepared for the punch in the gut, like walking past the place where he pulled me aside and kissed me on the way to meet friends. Other times I don't see it coming, like recently looking at a list of travel ideas in Korea on the internet.

But the moon. The full moon. How many times since I was a kid have I looked up at that same full moon and felt a peaceful wonder? I took it in as it hung above ancient buildings in Vienna and over the lapping ocean in Cape May. It sat, full and heavy, over the parking lot of my elementary school one summer night as I sat with a boy's arm around me for the first time. That glowing moon lit the path on many runs through the streets late at night and cast a shadow of myself to keep me company.

She loved me, this moon. She illuminated places and times in my life and captured an image like the bright bulb of my old camera. "I was there..." she says when I remember these times. "I was there...I was there...I was there..."

And she was there the night Gareth and I, newly swimming in our infatuation of each other, climbed the hills behind my apartment in Hadong. She cast her glow on our faces when we stopped to look at each other. Study each other. Plant the seeds of falling in love. Our teeth shining. Our eyes sparkling. The contour of our noses outlined by the moon's light.

It was on this hill that Gareth and I hugged- perhaps the longest continuous embrace of my life. We melted into each other. We traded stories. We laughed. We swooned.

And the full moon was there, hanging above us, as I heard Gareth recite a poem for the first time. "Moon of mountains, why do you smile upon the world below so blissfully?" he started. My eyes were locked on the bright moon above. Had it ever been this bright before?

"Seemingly unaware, unaware, it seems..."  His lips were near my right ear. I can feel the breath of his words now. "...of all the troubles beneath your smiling eyes." The poem continued on- lines and lines of it spilling from his mouth and wrapping around my neck, my torso, my legs. I had to hold on tightly to not follow them to the ground. I wanted to lay down with them, these words. I allowed myself to become anchored by the moon. To stand upright with her pull.

Each subsequent full moon we saw inspired a recreation of this night, minus the hills and the river below. In new settings we'd find ourselves stopped, in an embrace, this same poem recited to me- often more than once. We stood on the busy streets of Gyeongju under that moon. We bathed in a roof-top bath of a luxury pension under that moon. We caught glimpses of it in the heavily clouded winter skies. And each time we saw it, we embraced. Gareth spoke. And I listened.

Tonight I walked by the river of my new town. I brought a recording of Gareth reading "Moon of Mountains" and played it as I walked. I sat on a bench, looked at the moon, and listened to it again. On the walk home, I held the phone to my ear and listened again. And again. And again. The moon watched me yearn for you tonight, Gareth. The moon acknowledged the void beside me. The embrace of her light was not enough. Tonight, I tried to face her, to let her light shine across my face. But tonight I found her to be an unbearable reminder of what once was.

1 comment:

  1. I felt so sad reading this. And I thought, it must be painful to know you can never experience that again--with Gareth. I was thinking that if I wrote that, it would be too painful for you. Then I see your last line, "But tonight I found her to be an unbearable reminder of what once was." How cruel life seems at times like this. I find myself thinking, it should be a cherished reminder of a life together that shared many moons and would share more. I do remember one of your last blogs about seeing purpose. That your purpose with Gareth was to give him the experience of profound love. I wish for you that some day you will look at the moon and smile, remembering the profound love he had with you, and what he awakened in you, that cannot be taken away.