by Josh T. Alto
A man keeps trying to find his youthful lover desperately
|As he was lying there, near the burning car, on the right side of the motorway after the accident, he was still gazing at the moon, hypnotized and paralysed. His thoughts were there again like many times before over the last thirty years, on the beach where he had last seen her. Many years had passed but this picture hadn’t faded at all; it was imprinted on his mind and in his eyes forever.
The moon had never been so bright over the bay as on that evening when they last sat in the sand with their feet in the water holding each other’s hands. He was eighteen and spent three weeks on that island with his parents, and she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. They met one day as he was looking for a quiet bay and then he found that place where he would spend the happiest days of his life. The girl was lying there on that empty beach as if waiting for him to appear. She was young and sun tanned with blonde hair, and he fell in love with her the first time he caught sight of her. He walked up to her; she turned around and looked at him. He wanted to talk but was speechless. He was hypnotized, immersing helplessly in her blue eyes. They hardly ever speak, they could lie there for hours without saying anything, it appeared to him only years later that he knew almost nothing about her. He suspected that she lived on that island, she knew too much about it to be a tourist. He sometimes saw her with her mother on the way to the market, or selling flowers at the corner. He knew little about her but he always had that funny feeling as if she could read his mind. It sometimes happened that he wanted to say how hungry he was when she asked if they should go and eat something. The other day she brought some water when he was thirsty without asking first or held his hands when he felt cold. He never tried to understand it, love made him numb.
On that last evening he wanted to ask her if they would ever meet again but she answered before he could say anything: “You can see me any time you like but you have to offer everything you have to be with me again”. He never really understood what she meant and he forgot about it for a while. He missed her for a week or two after leaving the island but she was far away and after a few months he stopped thinking about her. He finished his studies and married one of the girls from his class. His marriage was unhappy and after two divorces he finally realized that he was looking for that girl from the island in all of the girls he had ever met and that he had to find her if he really wanted to settle down one day. However he was too busy with his work to return to the island and find out who she could have been.
A few years later he saw a photo of that island in a magazine and suddenly he was struck by the feeling he had almost forgotten over the last years. The next day he was on the plane to the island, he wanted to see her immediately; he couldn’t wait any longer. On the island he looked everywhere, some of the streets seemed familiar to him but there were so many changes he felt almost lost there alone. He asked people on the beach, in the church and in the taverns, tried to find out if she were still on the island or had left some time ago, but no one could help him. One day, however, he heard of a girl who had been living alone with her mother but got moonstruck and was delivered to the hospital in the capital some twenty years ago and never came back. Her mother died a few years later, their house was sold and rebuilt last year. He was desperate, there was nothing more left for him; he looked for her in all the hospitals on the island but without any result. Later he read an article in a newspaper about a moonstricken girl who escaped from a hospital and no one had ever seen since then. Her doctor told the reporters that she had that fixed idea that she was the daughter of the moon and the other patients were sure that she had to leave because the moon was calling her. If it was the girl he was looking for he could never find out. He often thought about the last words of the girl, what she could have meant by offering everything to be with her. He didn’t have a family any more; he had lost his job, and lived from one day to the next. Apart from his life he had almost nothing left to offer.
Finally he gave up searching but every time he looked up to the moon he saw her picture in front of him smiling with her golden curly locks around her head. It was full moon that evening when his gazing at the moon made him lose control of his car and drive into a tree on the right side of the road. The car started burning and a few cars stopped to try to help. Two men were running towards the burning car and one of them shouted: “Look over there! There is someone lying beside the car, he might be alive”! But he couldn’t hear these words any more. He was flying over the moonlit fields higher and higher; from the sky above her face was smiling at him in the moon.
(Word count: 979)