We’ve been hearing about the perigee moon for the last week, when we weren’t hearing about what’s happening in Japan and Libya. I haven’t paid too much attention to this phenomenon in the past, but now that I’m interested in all things lunar, I am learning all I can about it.
The moon hasn’t been this close to the earth in eighteen years, and it will be eighteen more until it happens again. I caught the one-month-prior-to-perigee, last month in Clearwater, Florida. At least I think that’s how it works. Seems like it would be a gradual progression for nine years to the blue moon, or apogee, moon, and then back for the next nine, and in 2029, we’re scheduled to see the Super Moon again.
For the last several months, I’ve started to plot my next book. The first chapter is the night of the perigee moon. Actually, it’s the month before, the February Moon. I like that much better than March Moon, and I don’t want the title to be Perigee Moon since some readers might not know what that is. I like January Moon too, but think I’ll go for February. Last time I had the book, but not the title, this time I have the title, but not the book. At least, not yet.
Our hero, as yet unnamed but let’s call him Luke, wakes to see it, moonlight so bright it streams into the room. Luke is interested in astrology, the stars, and the moon, and he stumbles around, finding his camera, turning on the light, to find his clothes so he can go out to take a picture of it. He is also an avid photo-taker.
He wakes his wife, and tells her to look at the moon. She mumbles at him and calls him an expletive. She has to work in the morning, she says, he should leave her alone. He goes outside and takes his pictures, but after he’s done that, he sits down on the patio and contemplates what just happened.
He compares his life with his wife (for now let’s call her Kate), which started when they were children, to a football game.
The home team never quite lives up to the expectations set for it each year, but still the fans are hopeful, so hopeful. This could be the game. This could be it. It’s a home game, and the weather sucks and the home team is used to that, and none of the players have been hurt so far this year, and the QB is in great shape, completely recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered last season. It’s a very important game. Win it, and the home team still has a shot at getting into the playoffs. Lose and it’s a no go.
At halftime, the home team is down by two touchdowns and hope is waning a little, but there’s still plenty of time. It’s only half time after all, and maybe the coach will pull off a miracle in the locker room, and the team will come back rejuvenated, competent and confident. Evidently, the opposing team coach did the same thing because no points are scored until about a minute before the third quarter ends, and the home team makes a field goal. Hope returns. Now they are only eleven points down. Two scores could win it, or a field goal and a score with a two-point conversion could tie it up, and after that it’s a new game. Overtime. Yes, there’s still time. The fans are on the edges of their seats.
The fourth quarter is agonizing, offense sucks, defense is good, lots of football players ending up in big piles. At the two-minute mark, our team is still eleven points behind, but there’s still time. A miracle could happen. One of those games maybe, that’s talked about for years after. Fourth down, got to go for it, the QB falls back and it look like it’s sack time, and he wings it. It’s a high flyer, a regular Hail Mary, the crowd holds its collective breath, and moves as one as each pair of eyes follows the ball.
And at that point, everyone in the stadium knows what the outcome will be. Hope is gone. There’s no way for a recovery after this. It won’t happen. It’s not possible. The fans start to leave, so they can get out quickly, to avoid the parking lot snarl, get to the bars and restaurants sooner.
Luke thinks about his relationship with Kate, and the February Moon was the interception. All the past hurts he’s built up, and stored away, weren’t enough to do it, but the February Moon was the tipping point. It pushes him over the edge. There’s no hope left.
He remembers the time they hosted a Fourth of July party, and he’d come into the kitchen where Kate and other women were gathered, and when she saw him she said to her friends, “Don’t you think my husband is cute, in a duh kind of way?” The women laughed, and Luke stared at his wife, hoping to convey to her that he was mad, hurt, upset. She laughed at him. He figures that was about halftime.
He thinks about a glass with water dripping into it, drop by drop. There’s plenty of room, plenty of room, and finally the water reaches the top and the drops keep coming, and it seems as if the liquid bubbles up over the rim of the glass while it hugs the sides, hanging on, straining, until the last drop falls, the one that causes the contents to spill over. The February Moon.