Fic: To Love the Moon 1/?

To Love the Moon
by Faith Luna



“I don’t think that’s how it works,”  September said, a sushi roll paused halfway to her mouth. “I really don’t believe in all that freaking rubbish. Seriously! Don’t you have better things to do with your time?”

The two of them sat at a picnic table on a cement balcony overlooking a busy road and just far enough away from the office that they both worked in to feel like they were free for the moment.  

Emma had neat silver hair with a long strand of colorful thread and beads hanging from her temple. She glared at September for a moment, then went back to her phone. “Well, I think it matters. You haven’t had even a date in six months and you can’t say - it might help. You never can tell what will affect the world.”

Bite of sushi now in her mouth, September arched an eyebrow. “I can tell you, definitively, that chain letters aren’t going to get me laid, let alone find me my one true love. I don’t believe in love.”

“Bullshit,” Emma said. “Everyone believes in love. You’re not bad looking. There’s no point in being alone just to prove a point.”

“Not anymore,” September said firmly. “I don’t believe in love, not even a little bit.” She smiled though, grey eyes kind. She had long hair, brown like a mouse, but soft and thick in her braid. In jeans and a tie-dyed tee shirt she hardly looked the professional type. “Seriously, Em, a chain letter. That stuff can’t be real.”

“Yeah, well,” Emma said, smirking, “you don’t believe in love either, so what would you know. We’ve got ten minutes. Want to start walking back?”

“Yeah, guess,” she said. “So this letter that you hacked into my facebook to post, just what is it supposed to get me?”

“Only the true love of your life!” Emma smiled, winked. “I just have a good feeling about this one. Think of it like advertising. If everyone in your network knows you’d want love, well, the odds go up.”

September glared, ate the last bit of her sushi, and maybe a twitch of real anger flared through gray eyes.

“I’ll never do it again! I was out of line,” Emma swore, hands up, “but you really don’t want to just be alone forever, do you?”

September put the empty plastic into the paper bag and crumpled up the top. Love. “So I wrote that chapter to my story that I said I’d write.. you know... the one where Cody and Shane were together...but I wrote it so that Cody was at his therapist and ... well, Shane was never real, just something he imagined for years. I really don’t think love is real. If I want to be alone or not, that’s just the way it is.” She sighed, her smile soft. “That’s just how it is, Em.”

“Bullshit.”

The office they worked in was only a few stories tall, bland and cog like, fitting in with the rest of the city. For a moment, September imagined the whole city to be like some massive installation of prairie dog mounds, with people popping their heads up every so often to see if there was a way out.  It was cubicle farm far and wide though and that’s just how it was too. “Everyone’s got their illusions. Its what makes this whole thing palatable, Em.”

“That’s just so depressing,” she said, phone going back in her purse as they exited onto their floor, like chickens moving back into the hen house because that’s where the food was and that’s just how life is. “Just you wait. Some gorgeous guy is going to sweep you off your feet!”

September smirked, swiped her card for them to get back into the hen house. “So it’s going to be a hit and run on my way home?”

Em groaned. “YOU know what I mean.”

“Yeah, yeah,” September said, settling into her cubicle, letting the anonymity of being no one wash over her, fade the pain of being no one away for a few hours. Work felt like being a chat bot. Everything she needed to say was already there in her mind like a script, the right words triggered by whatever the person on the other end of the line said. She didn’t matter. Who she was, where she’d been in her life, where she dreamed of going - none of it mattered. There wasn’t really enough time in a call to make the other person matter either and maybe there wasn’t anyway for any of it to matter in any case. The right words came out of her mouth easily, fluidly, but on the paper by her keyboard, she drew people who were in love, people who cared about other people.

In her comics, there could be love, but it was just like the chapter in her story that no one was ever going to read, about how how the greatest love she could imagine was all in her head - because it was. Maybe love could be real for other people, but it was never going to be real for her.

Break came and went. There was cake in the break room. Cake was real, at least, and it had to taste as good as any kiss she’d ever had in real life. Off the break room there was a balcony with concrete far below and she wondered about it, a bit of sugar and chocolate in her mouth, but nothing between her and the concrete below, she wondered if feeling nothing at all might be better, perhaps, than another day in the hen house, another day where love happened only between graphite and bright white paper. A chain letter just wasn’t going to fix that.

The end of break brought her back to her cubicle and she smiled like her soul was made of sunshine. Em rolled her eyes. The nothingness of calls was half way between the sweet of cake and the nothingness of concrete, but at least it was a nothingness she could back out of.

Half an hour before the end of day, their supervisor came around asking who could work a couple extra hours. The holidays, you know and well, can’t keep families waiting because...well, can you work?  

Some words aren’t really dialogue, like an actual human said them, but they aren’t poetic verse and they aren’t non-fiction with solid sentences and real meaning, they’re just words like dust settling between the keys on a keyboard, keeping things warm until the system overheats and can’t function properly, but even with that affect, they still aren’t real words with real uses.

So? Can you work?

September didn’t mind. A couple more hours of numb for enough wealth to buy a latte and a video game seemed like a good deal.

It was dark when she left the building, but still too warm for her tastes.  Hoodie in her backpack, she decided to walk home. The buses had already reached the hourly schedule and she could get nearly home before the bus would come again anyway. Besides there was a place for pasta and suddenly pasta was sounding really good.

Headphones in her ears gave her life a soundtrack and a bit more step in her pace. The best music was always about love and then she was cutting through the park, pausing to stare at the lake. It wasn’t forever in darkness like the concrete had promised though, but glittering mystery and swans. Leaning on the railing she watched them glide, wondering what it would be like to be one of them, to love forever and ever, for all the ever a swan can imagine.

In the warm evening, chill brushed over the back of her neck like fingers across a chilled bottle and her heart froze for the tiniest of moments. She turned, looking for some person that, obviously, wasn’t going to be there.  The hair on the back of her neck stood straight up and her shoulders shivered. She fished her hoodie out of the backpack, slipped on the warmth, though there was still some cold that reached deep into her bones.  With a dry throat, she rubbed her arms and turned back to the swans. Usually the park just had geese, lots of geese that were about as friendly as a caller who’d been on hold too long. The swans were gone though - sort of.

Another bridge reflected on the water, taller, made of stones, arched and ancient. Through the arches, a full and golden moon rippled on the water. The sky above though was still twilight, more blue than black and hadn’t the stars she’d seen in the water because the city soaked up such things. Her brows arched as she glared at the stars reflected in the water under the other bridge, where the swans, one black and one white, glided along water reflecting things that could not be there. Things like a bundle that kicked and wiggled as it was held over the edge of a bridge that wasn’t there.

“Hey! Asshole!” she screamed.

The words echoed and the shadow of the man holding the baby in the bundle over the edge of the bridge, he turned, as if he’d heard something that couldn’t be there, that could be no more than guilty conscious, perhaps. The baby’s cry echoed on both bridges though, angry and the only sound in both worlds.  The bundle dropped towards the dark, star stained water.

September pushed out of her backpack and dived over the edge of her bridge. Just instinct took her under the cool surface, into darkness where light could filter, but not reflect and then she had the bundle in her hands, pulling it close with one arm, promising the little wet life all the protection she could offer. She broke the surface under the wide stone bridge, stones older than anything in the city she lived in, cooler, smelling of river not some lake in a park. Booted footfalls faded, and she tread water as she opened up the bundle to find the smallest little baby going blue in her arms.

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