"Orange Moon" by John Gower

My landlady called me on the phone last night even though she only lives downstairs. She wanted me to look out the window of my furnished room. The moon was orange and she wanted me to see it. We hung up and I saw that it was orange just like she said it was. I thought of calling my old girlfriend. Remember Dear, how we used to look at the orange moon together- is what I would have said. But I didn’t call. When she and I first fell in love we used to talk every night about the moon. I was still in Texas, and she was in Vermont. We liked the idea that we could look up at the same time and see the same moon even though we were thousands of miles apart. Our love traveled safely in its orbit and it became the center point of our imagination. We imagined how our love was as true as the moon is true and that we were meant to be. And last night when I looked up at the orange moon of course I thought of her. Only now she’s less than forty blocks away. I could have almost reached out and touched her. We used to be so perfect, before we lived together. It was the closeness that ruined us. Orange had become my favorite color. It was the color of change, of zest, of her pubic hair. It made me laugh. It made me whole. Orange was the color of sunsets, of her toe-nail polish. Orange was the color of the dream I rode all the way from Texas to Vermont.

When I first arrived she and I sat on her back-stoop after a fine dinner of vegetables she had grown from her garden and tears ran uncontrollably down my face. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t talk, all I could say was Orange, orange, orange, over and over, with the intent of making a statement of incredible importance, but all I could say was orange. In looking back, orange is all there was to say, it said it all. I was awash in orange and orange was all that mattered. Our love was an orange moon. It was anything we wanted it to be. Our options were as big as the sky.

But after a few years the routine of living together began to take its toll. After dinner we found ourselves scanning the night sky for the signs of the zodiac, connecting the dots like one more chore, rather than feeling enthralled with the infinite possibility of what it all could mean, and what our love could mean. Even the sex I was once so crazy about had become as common and routine as breakfast. And one night after working too hard and arguing too much the moon lost all its meaning, it looked pale and old and stupid just like the rock that it was. And the next thing you know I’m in a furnished room and the landlady is reminding me to look up, look up at the moon, it’s orange.

Looking up I am reminded of what it’s like to start anew. I remember how easy it happens, how open and connected and true it all feels. I remember the feeling of infinite possibilities.

Spring is finally here. The moon is full, and orange, and I do feel lucky. I can feel the change in the air. I can feel the sky above Church Street has lost its limits, the zodiac signs have disappeared. Yes, the night is ablaze with infinite possibilities. I am orange tonight and so are you. 

Gary Miller1 Comment