Harriet turned her pillow over for the eighteenth time in the past hour. It was – as she should have known by now – no cooler on the other side. An electric fan blew gamely across the light sheet covering her, making no difference at all to the stifling heat and closeness in the room. Harriet decided this had to stop. Sleep was just not going to come to her, and this fretful tossing was driving her crazy. She’d counted to one thousand, she’d read for a while, she’d brought a cold wet towel to bed. The window was open. She was exhausted and frustrated. She was an insomniac with wide eyes.
She got up and pulled back the curtain at the open window, leaning out. Ah – a full moon. Perhaps that explained her restlessness. She’d heard that the moon could pull you in strange ways. After all, it pulled the tides all over the world, didn’t it? It could surely pull the sleeping and waking patterns of one woman.
The silver of the moonlight lit the grass blades in Harriet’s front lawn. The more she gazed out, the more wakeful she became. She decided to stop struggling with her insomnia and to let it be. She pulled a wrap around her, looping the fabric belt together, climbed up onto the windowsill (it was low) and dropped outside. For a 35 year old woman, she felt remarkably like a little girl in a Peter Pan story.
The silver grass blades were mercifully cool on the bare soles of her feet. She walked to the garden gate and looked out into the moonlit street. On the other side of the road, standing by the seat at the bus stop, not sitting on it, was a man wearing a dark suit and a white shirt. Harriet’s first thought was that he must be very hot in that jacket. The night was sultry. She walked over to the man. Close up, she could see that he was in late middle-age, maybe sixty, with silvering hair. He looked back at her gently.
“Aren’t you hot in that jacket?” she asked him
“I make my own weather,” he replied gravely.
Harriet sat on the bus stop bench and lifted her face to the moonlight. She felt the moon tugging at her insides. It was not altogether unpleasant.She turned again to the man in the suit, who was now leaning against the bus stop bench and looking at her calmly.
“Who are you, and what are you doing here in the middle of the night?” she asked him.
“Oh, I’m always abroad in the night,” he replied, “and as to what I’m doing, I’m watching you.”
His words sent a calm feeling through Harriet, though with one part of her mind she thought she should find this a bit creepy. As she sat, she felt a movement in her womb, a contraction, familiar, and she thought “uh-oh.” A warm sticky flow began. The moon was tugging on her cycle. She’d heard it could do that.
“Where do you come from?” she asked the man, holding her legs together.
“I live in the moon,” he replied.