Dedicated to H.J.
The languid wolf limped atop the mountain with what looked to be a pound of bloody flesh clenched between its jaws. There was a pattern of pain behind the wolf—painting a path in the snow, built by blood, sweat, and tears—that could reflect a fairytale, although the moonlight seemed much too cold for happy endings.
From behind a pasture of cotton spun clouds, the moon bloomed into view. The wolf gingerly glanced to its left then its right, sat its suppertime surprise on the trunk of a fallen tree, raised its trumpet to the boundless shine above and with dandelion wishes from its own frozen breath, sent out a wake up call that woke up the sirens of myths from thousands of years ago.
But then the moon, it howled back.
For an eternal moment, the wolf stood rigid and frozen. Its hair as stiff as though it had just returned home from a once in a lifetime trip to the taxidermist. Its eyes channeled radioactive universal frequency. Its breath spoke out loud to the invisible serenity. Its lame body ached in every nook and cranny. Without so much as a working bladder anymore, it pissed in the snow without even knowing it, and perhaps, marking its one last territory, possibly disembarking on a different sort of fairytale altogether. Yes, the other side of death waited patiently, and so did the dying wolf.
And as for the moon, neither did it move.
Instead, it sat in its most comfortable spot among the cosmic landscape of clouds, like a sunny side up egg soon to be cracked open by Orion’s buttery sword. Somewhere up there Monet was about to fry a golden egg.
Gradual and brisk, the moonlit silence slowly offered condolence to the exhausted wolf. For while it, like its ancestors before, had spent its life having one sided conversations with fully lit moons without fail, it had not once upon a time, not even as a cub, expected the validation of a reply. If the moon were to ever speak, it was only heard in the echoes in the caverns of the heart, in the amber that flows with a shiver up the spine, or behind the depths of its blood stained eye. But never ever was it heard in the ears.
When wolves were the ones in charge of getting the message out loud and clear, nothing else was. Among wild beasts, as among man, the moon has forever been expected to be mute.
But what if it wasn’t? What if, and this is a howl of a what if. But what if, it had been biding its time all these eternities, patiently waiting in the darkest of nights until the right time came for its deafening howl to be heard?
And what if?
The wolf was focusing with too much intensity on trying to fully understand what could have finally untwisted the moonlight’s tongue—that it barely recognized the youthful howl off in the distance, a shrilled and squeaky shriek that spoke up from about a foot below its thoughts.
“Well, well, well,” said the bloody piece of flesh, now a beating little heart, thumping and thriving with the breath of life. “Now that you’ve learned your lesson, could you please see me back safely to the womb from which I was took?”
And though, starving, exhausted and left perplexed, and despite the fact that his conscious was as clear of guilt as a fogged out mirror. The old, dying wolf gave in. It hobbled its way up a hillside of hope, hopped over white picket fences of fairytale dreams, squirmed its way around all the checkpoints of judgement in between. The wolf then crawled through a mountainous wild, stumbling upon a quaint and quiet sleepy little village, sneaking—for a second time that lullaby lit night—through the delicate blue moonlit depths of a wide open nursery window.
And the next morning, a boy named love was born.
To The Moon & Back—