The Ring Around the Moon

It’s my birthday! As my birthday is progressing, I have decided I’m going to talk about that which is my favorite to talk about. I’m gonna tell you all about the love of my life. This is a section of my autobiography. It is the third volume, and the thirteenth book of the autobiography titled Reality of the Unreal Mind. This section is called The King’s Concubine. It’s about the times when me and my wife almost got together spanning from the last day of eighth grade til six years later, when we actually did connect. So today we talk about the near-misses of love. This is the eighth post in this series. I will be releasing them all day.

Now we’re talking about my day, and I live on a 48-hour schedule. So a new one of these will be coming out every two hours and 45 minutes from now until 2 in the morning on the 24th, when I go to sleep.

I was with Teddy. I don’t remember who was driving, all I know is that I got there. What we were doing there, I cannot tell you. Who these people were has been forgotten by me. So many of the details of this night are gone from me now, and all I have left is what I will give you.

I arrived as Shadow.

Teddy walked us into the house of a man and woman I had never met before. They lived on the army base, although I cannot figure why. My mind is playing with me. It has left me with an image of what they were like instead of their actual appearance.

She was tiny and thin. I would guess in her early twenties. She was beautiful, but Shadow hardly noticed. She had her eyebrow pierced, her hair was short and blue. It laid down as if it wanted to stand up, and she met me at the door with a hug.

“You’re Jesse,” she said. “You are the Dungeon Master Teddy keeps talking about.” She led me into the living room and we sat. “Me and Buster played a while ago, but we haven’t been able to find a DM worth a shit for years, so we are a bit out of practice.”

I looked around the room and my eye fell to the couple on the couch. I froze. Shadow stared at her for a while before nodding at her.

“Bekah, John,” he said looking at the long-haired guy sitting next to her.

It was John, and Shadow and him were pretty good friends. John had dated my sister Less for a while. Had been a really cool guy about the constant supervision Guardian overwhelmed them with. Back then, it had seemed like John was not interested in fucking Less, just occasionally making out with her and spending time with her. He had long hair and an odd face that you could look at for a while and never figure out. He always seemed to be wearing green but I probably have that wrong. Shadow shook his hand without looking at Bekah. He walked away without shaking her hand. Shadow didn’t want to touch her. Thought maybe he would never stop.

Teddy dropped into a bean bag and Shadow took a chair that happened to be facing John and, more importantly, Bekah. As soon as he sat down he realized this was a problem. Looking straight ahead meant looking at Bekah. Shadow kept his eyes on the floor.

He wanted to be alone with her. Not to fuck her. This girl, he did not want to fuck. He wanted to talk to her and look at her and maybe see her smile. But as he looked at her now, he could see she was not smiling. She was looking at him, her eyes staring directly at him.

How long they looked at each other cannot be known. But Teddy was talking and Shadow decided he should probably start paying attention to what was being said.

“Yeah, he gets home soon. We will hang out then,” she said. We will call her Boo because that is what her man called her all the time.

“Have you ever played Dark Sun?” Teddy asked her.

Dark Sun was a world in Dungeons and Dragons that was very intense. Characters died for little or no reason it seemed, in that version of the game, and Teddy was obsessed with it. “He plays Dark Sun and you die almost constantly.”

Boo pulled back. “Die?”

“Yeah, but it is great,” he said. “It makes everything so much more intense and it becomes about finding a good death and making another character. It’s insane!”

“Yeah, that might be cool. When do you think we could play?” she asked.

Shadow could not take his eyes off of Bekah, though he knew he should not be staring at her.

“Hey Jesse, when do you think we could play?” Boo said.

I still couldn’t hear what she was saying enough to answer. Bekah looked down at her hand interlocked with John’s and looked back up at Shadow.

Out came Guardian, who shook his head.

Teddy kicked the couch we sat on. “Hey man, she asked you a question.”

Guardian looked up. “Sorry, a little distracted. What did you say?”

“Teddy said you play Dark Sun. When could we play? I’m pretty excited,” Boo said.

“Maybe next weekend. My mother will not let me out on a Saturday night. We have church in the morning,” Guardian said. He looked at Boo, stared at her to keep his eyes away from Bekah.

“Okay, well, let’s plan on next Friday then. It will have to be after eight. I will be at the salon until then. But we will have a game here. I’ll get beer and soda and we will work it out,” Boo said.

Guardian locked his eyes on her, hoping he was not making her uncomfortable. But knowing he was probably being creepy.

He pulled away and leaned back on the couch, staring up at the ceiling, looking at the floor, searching for any place to look that was not directly at Bekah. Finally his eyes turned to her and he stared at her.

John was talking to Boo and Teddy was laughing, but Guardian could not take his eyes off of her. He wanted to take her away. Just take her by the hand, peel it away from John’s hand, and take her away.

Where they would go, Guardian did not know. How long they could hide there, he could not imagine, but he wanted this girl as far away as possible, holding his hand. Guardian didn’t know if he would be able to say anything to her but he knew he wanted to. What could he say though? What kind of words were there for this girl and Guardian? Would they have anything to talk about at all? It would all be said with a holding of hands and a walk out into the darkness.

He did not remember meeting her at Old Settlers Days. He did not remember seeing her at school. It was as if for the first time with her, and he felt as though he had been breathing with only his lungs all his life and now his entire body could breathe.

More laughing and Guardian knew he should be listening.

“Hey man, what’s wrong with you? “ Teddy said.

“Don’t feel good,” Guardian said. “I need some air.”

“Yeah let’s get out in the air. Come on,” Teddy said. We walked out into a chilly night and he looked at me. Finally it seemed Guardian was able to see. He closed his eyes for a moment then looked up at the sky.

“Dude, do you need to go home?” Teddy said.

“Yeah, I sure as fuck can’t stay here,” Guardian said. “I can’t look at her anymore.”

“Who? Boo?”

“Every time I look at her I want to walk away with her.”

“Look, Boo and Buster are open, dude,” Teddy said. “If you want Boo, you can probably have her. I can talk to Buster and she seems to like you. He will hand her over to you, brother, will probably watch.”

“Not Boo.” Guardian looks up at the sky and sees a full moon. It is bright and cold, and around it at a distance is a light silver ring. He has never seen this before. He thinks it might be new. A new kind of moon for a night like this.

“Bekah is with John, man,” Teddy says. “John is a cool guy. You can’t take his girl.”

Guardian nods. “I know. I cannot have her, no matter if she was with John or not.”

Teddy sits down and Boo comes out of the house onto the walkway outside her house.

“Are you okay, Jesse?”

“She is like that light up there,” Guardian says. “It is bright and perfect. And I am that moon. Those two will never touch. They are forever held away by the rules of the sky.”

“Kind of beautiful,” Teddy says.

“Who are we talking about?” Boo says.

“Can’t tell you,” Teddy says. “Kind of have to go. We can’t stay here. Jesse is upset.”

Boo grabs my hands. I realize I sat down at some point. Just sat down in the middle of the walkway. No stairs. Just cement. She gets me to my feet and hugs me. She looks at me for a while but I am staring at the moon and cannot take my eyes off it.

“Look at me,” Boo says.

I look down almost in tears.

“Go home. Take care of yourself. I’ll see you on Friday night,” Boo says.

But we don’t come over on Friday. I will not come back to this house again. Maybe Bekah and John will be there. Maybe I will have to see them holding hands again. Guardian can’t bear the sight of it.

“Go in, and say goodbye,” Boo says.

“I got it,” Teddy says. “Jesse needs to stay in the air.”

He comes back out. “John said feel better,” Teddy says. “Bekah says she understands why you have to go.”

But Guardian can barely hear as he stares at the moon and slowly weeps.

Boo is gone.

Teddy is gone.

John is gone.

And Bekah is gone again.

She will not be back for months, and even then, it will be Ronin who sees her on the way to the Vo Tech. Guardian will not see Bekah for a long time.

And by the time he does, he will have forgotten tonight.

Bekah broke up with John that night.

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