Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shadows

We rounded the corner and lifted our heads to see the moon leap into our view.  It was round and full, fooling me into thinking I might be able to touch its glossy surface, if I climbed up high above the branches nearby.

The moon always carry my thoughts home.  No matter how far away I had drifted, in body or soul.  On a night like this, years ago in Beijing, we'd sometimes step out onto the street for a walk.  The dinner dishes had been put away,  and there would be a breeze that invite even the most languid member of the family - dad - to venture out.

Chess players and a crowd of onlookers would often line the street.  Both sides - the players and the prospectors - observed the silent rules of mutual respect.  But they would smack the cap sized pieces against the board to make a move, and the crowd would inhale sharply, as if finally letting go of the magic of suspense. Dad would sigh, exhale loudly before moving on.

The moon would glaze over us then, draping a silvery cape over our shoulders and backs.  The old drum tower in the far corner would usually frighten me with its menacing black shapes, sharp corners and tall shadows.  But on those nights with a bright moon and few clouds, its corners would turn a soft silvery gray, giving out an air of soft grandfatherly warmth.

And so tonight we walked on, imagining the world shrinking to the size of the patch of garden around us so we could be transported with the touch of a thought.  London, Paris, Bangkok, or Rio.  We walked into the quiet of the night, imagining the palpable stress weighing us down melting into a land farther than we can reach.

Then we saw, around dark and shadowy corners, a familiar warmth glistened in silvery sparks.

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