You crept through my bedroom window tonight and beckoned me to join you. I’ve changed, but perhaps you couldn’t see that in the darkness. My freckles stand out against the white sheets as you connect the dots to discover my face. Some freckles are missing as creases swallow them whole, but you recognize me through the flecks of brown that always defined my face.

“Your freckles are so cute!” well-meaning friends would respond to my self criticism. Truthfully, I was oblivious to my mottled complexion until an acquaintance sorrowfully said, “I’m so sorry about your skin condition!” Then I thought about it. Now I have a skin condition.

But I was not oblivious to you, Moonlight, as you peered into my little lavender bedroom one night many years ago. Curiosity overcame my hesitancy as I threw off covers and comfort to rush outside into your light. I felt you between my bare toes as you projected yourself onto the earth, then I looked up noting the marks on your face. The strength you radiated overpowered any attempt to scrutinize your imperfections. You turn the world blue simply by showing your face.

We were kindred spirits after that weren’t we, Moonlight? You were my friend, my confidant, my safety. You transformed the earth into a different realm; a realm that I embraced through the rhythmic movement of a small brown and white pony. A saddle was unnecessary as skin to skin my pony and I charged into the bright blue night and entered a world set apart — our own Narnia.

A herd of mutt cattle watched with mild interest as we pranced by. My pony’s speckled head bobbed to the pa-ta ta pa-ta of her tri-colored hooves. Slowly other sounds emerged: the squeaky chewing of cud, a soft lowing, the loud exhales of thousand pound bodies settling onto the ground with a whoosh. A chorus of crickets joined in, then throbbing frogs and twittering song birds interspersed with the punctuation of an owl. Each sound contributed to a cosmic orchestration, completely separate yet gloriously harmonious.

But one impatient quiver from my pony and it was time to soar over well worn trails, vault gullies, and ride the small rolling waves of earth — all in the sanctuary of majestic leafy trees as you, Moonlight, projected a kaleidoscope of images onto the ground in front of us.

I will never forget my pony’s stride. Her legs drank the earth in tiny exuberant gulps. If only your light tonight could resurrect her and I could again feel her thirst for ground through my gripping knees and folded torso. She lived to run as I lived to ride.

But her rhythm has been replaced now. The car, the radio, the washer, the dryer, the microwave, the fridge, the computer, the smartphone have all crescendoed past the natural rhythms I understood as a child. Now I sit in the glow of my phone each day as it projects my created image into a virtual reality — another realm in its own way, I suppose, but not your realm. And certainly not Narnia.

But perhaps tonight, Moonlight, you ignore my freckles and focus on my creases — the barcodes of age you scan to determine if I am the child you thought you knew. If I turn over maybe you’ll leave so I can go back to sleep and forget my creases. At least those are a universal skin condition, unlike freckles.

Really, though, it’s better this way, isn’t it, Moonlight? Surely my rest is more important than your illumination of a magical realm. Honestly, if I ran to you now I would endanger you by my adulthood.

My feet hurt. 

What was that noise? 

I’m sure there is a murderer on the other side of this fence. 

That mosquito must carry any number of diseases. 

More floodlights, we need more floodlights.

I wonder what’s on TV…  

Who knew adulthood meant protecting myself from your realm by drowning out your light and sounds with my own? It seems I’ve left Narnia never to return.

So I lie awake tonight in purgatory remembering harmony, but listening to the isolated note of fear stacattoing in my head. Fear is a gruesome sound — like a thousand musicians interpreting one chord in unison without context. It is discord, madness, chaos on repeat.

But you found another room tonight, didn’t you, Moonlight? I saw my daughter wondering at you through the crack in her shades. She called my name without needing my comfort, watching you instead until sleep prevailed. Perhaps I can introduce you both one day. Then she, too, can wander into your realm of bare feet, beating hearts, and ponies that soar over the earth.

Photo by malith dk on Unsplash