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  • Writer's picturePray Jani

Under the Crescent Moon

Past the stroke of midnight, when the gamblers play their luck, and dreamers recite their dreams, and when broken hearts sing a melancholy, a crescent moon faintly walked across the night sky, spectating the humans dealing with their mortality.

The air smelled of whiskey and smoke. It was surely a town of big-balled men. It was an odd night, for the odd humans. And in the middle of this chaos, strolled a girl under the spotlight of the streets. Blinded by the night, she was looking for the moon.

“Don’t look up! She’s Crescent tonight. Don’t look at the moon!” Screamed the merchants and sailors trading their goods. “She’s red! Don’t look up.” Screamed a mother.  The mortals shut their shades, and continued to lay their bets. The city was blinding, till the morning rescued them.

You know how it is. Time runs when you are where you need to be, and crawls when you needn’t. As the time mocked the girl with his regular formula, she hurried to find a spot, to face the red crescent moon.

The streets are coarse. It houses thugs with a backstory, flawless orphans and blind patrolmen. Her stride, impatient as the rising ocean, caught the eye of an orphan with a rugged toy. He heard her say to herself “Where is the Moon?”

“She’s crescent today, and red. You know that, right?” The orphan asked.

“Yes! I need to see her.” Answered the girl.

“But they say it reminds you. Of everything.”

“Yes, and I want to remember. Can you show me where she is?”

The boy thought for a while. He recalled what his father told him about the red crescent moon.

“Son, every twelfth week of the twelfth year, there will come a day, when the night will shine of all of humanity’s sin. The night of the red crescent moon. No child is born on that night, no soul leaves a body. It is a night that will reveal to you, naked like a tree in autumn, all your sins.” 

“Why would you want to remember?” He asked her.

“Just tell me where she is! And I will tell you whatever you want to know.” She replied in a hurry.

“Follow me!” He ran. She ran behind him.

The moon, she watched them curiously, getting close to her. She is nervous. She hadn’t been seen by a human is so long. She appeared for one night, after all the other moons had come and glanced at His creation. She appeared for one night, for that is all that she was granted.

She couldn’t remember the last time a human set eyes on her. And yet, every time she was allowed to watch them, she dressed up in her most beautiful dress and stood there.

And then, at the edge of the Earth, she saw two children, standing on a hill. Far from the chaos. A  girl, and an orphan with his toy.

The orphan, once on the hill, couldn’t believe he was there. He just wanted to know why the girl would do this. Remember all her sins. He pointed to the moon at a distance, turned away and shut his eyes. He had sinned too. And he couldn’t bear to remember them. And as he pointed, there was complete silence. It was as if the boy was all alone there, perhaps even trapped in his own mind.

Minutes passed, he grew impatient. He needed his answer. He opened his eyes, to find the girl, standing there, facing the moon like the lotus faces the rain. She had tears in her eyes, and a smile on her face. Remembered her from moments ago, hastily looking for the moon, and now, calm as the sea.

“How is she doing this, remembering her sins?” He thought to himself.

‘Why would you want to remember them?’ He finally asked her.

‘She is smiling.’ Replied the girl.

‘What?’

‘Did you know? She appears only once in twelve years? And nobody looks at her. Nobody wants to face her. Nobody wants to remember their sins. That must be so lonely. Right?’

The orphan thought to himself, and realized. The girl did not do this to remember her sins. She was doing this for the red crescent moon. The streets had been coarse to him. He realized that the world was so busy running away from bad, that they forgot what “good” meant.

Looking at that girl, the orphan remembered.  He remembered what it was to be good.

Under that sad moonlight, the the little girl stared at her moon, and the orphan stared at his.

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