Issue 25

Trying to Find a Gift Bow the Size of the Moon


                The moon is a unique piece of real estate.  From time eternal, lovers have promised the moon to each other, bringing the pool of disputed owners to a size exceeding even the number of people who have eaten a McDonald’s hamburger.

                Giving away the moon involves some serious considerations.  First off, it would be nearly impossible to wrap.  I have discovered that presents wrapped in a brown grocery bag and sealed with a staple generate fewer ohs and ahs than a gift dressed in wrapping paper that feels good to the touch and is tied with thick gold ribbon.  The bow for the moon alone could link Los Angeles and New York with a satin bridge. There’s also the question of where you store a heavenly body 2,160 miles in diameter when you’re tired of having it take up most of the living room.  I won’t even start into what would happen to the tides or the series of cataclismic and worldwide natural disasters that would follow.

                What is our fascination with the moon?  Why do we want to give it to the ones we love?  It doesn’t really work as a metaphor for wanting to help make wonderful dreams come true because even after all of these centuries, no one has yet managed to actually give the moon.  It’s a promise doomed to failure from the start.  And this is the metaphor for love?

                While I’ve never worked up the ambition to offer Rebecca the moon, even in times of desperation, I have succumbed to promising only slightly more realistic offers of happiness, like saying I’ll keep the floor in my Think Tank picked up.  With all the success I have though, I might as well offer the moon.

                Recently, Rebecca has grown tired of my na´ve lover’s promises, or even worse, thoughtful intentions of things possible which never come to be.  “I really wanted to have installed that shelf in your closet before you came home,” I told her once when she had been gone for the day.  “You know,” she said, and I knew right then that we had had very different kinds of days, “your saying that only makes me sad.”  There was more, words that turned my ears red like, what value do intentions have other than to say, in so many words, that I thought doing something else was more important than making her happy?

                I guess I didn’t have to read a magazine for a few hours.  Certainly it was a luxurious indulgence when I could have been crammed in a tiny closet with a hammer and a big piece of wood.  I had worked extra hours that week and spent a solid chunk of time preparing for the holidays by clearing out the attic and putting up lights.  Just little stuff.  Doing ten loads of laundry and loading the dishwasher.  Taking the dogs across the street to the park.  Vacuuming.  Heck, what’s a few more hours of work once you’ve already put in that many?

                Try as I might, though, I couldn’t shake her words.  They hung in my brain like tiny mosquitoes, annoying and not letting me think about something important like genuinely inquiring into how Rebecca’s day went.  I conducted a personal inventory, then checked and rechecked, only to confirm without a doubt that my feelings had been hurt.

                As a lover, I want to give Rebecca everything I can and even everything I know I can’t.  I don’t quite understand it, but I find myself, as a man, constantly facing my limitations as I think of even more outrageous intentions to offer her, like never fighting or yelling.  Sometimes these intentions are really my frustrations.  Offering the mundane, the daily grind, just isn’t romantic.  To say “Honey, I worked overtime for you this week, cleaned up dog poop, restocked toilet paper throughout the house, broke down all the cardboard for recycling, scrubbed the slippery moss off of the brick steps, and made an honest effort to pick up my room,” is to say, “I spent another day with you and ran out of time to do anything special.”

                What’s wrong with intentions?

                Sometimes, at the end of a crazy day, they’re all I have to offer.

                So to all of you other lovers out there, I just want to make it perfectly clear that the moon is taken.  I offer it to my best friend in the tradition of generations before ours: with the best of intentions that will never be realized.


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