Moonrock

Until I was twenty-two, I believed the faces of the sun and moon belonged to the same rock. I thought: when man first walked on the moon, he must have done it at night.
When my friends heard about this belief, they mocked me until they realized that no one had told them outright that it wasn’t true. Then one of them punched me. Laughing, he attempted to reassure us that we had all learned about such things in science class.
“Come to think of it,” one said, “I have seen the sun and moon together in the sky, on plenty of occasions.”
“So there’s your proof,” said another.
I agreed, nodding wildly. I had seen them together in the sky, too, but I had found a way to explain it: if you really looked, one or the other was always more duskily faded. Like a reflection in water.
“Or ice,” another said dreamily.
“You know, the Apollo astronauts trained right here in Iceland in the 1960s.”
We immediately bowed our heads in the direction of our quietest friend. I loved when this one spoke. We were careless listeners among each other, but when he spoke, we paid attention. We paid him the reverence that only Valur had ever earned from us, in those quivering post-match moments in the Hlíðarendi Stadium.
“My grandfather used to spy on their activities, combing the surrounding volcanic rock for cavansite.”
“Cavansite?”
“It had been discovered in Oregon earlier that year. He read about in Geology Magazine.”
We all stared at him blankly.
“In his old age, he became obsessed with finding this rare blue mineral. He would take my father on long walks, circling the training camp, whose presence had been corrupting his ideal of the black-ridged Icelandic landscape. My father remembers these walks, though he was very young, due to how completely alone he felt. My grandfather never said a word to him about the astronauts over the fence. Their mission, their freeze-dried food and microgravity training. All stuff which would have been fascinating to a child. He was too busy searching, and they had to search quietly. Every rock my father picked up glinted like a tooth, but it was never the right one. Never the prismatic royal blue contained in the crinkled magazine photograph, which was tacked to the mantle in his father’s workshop.”
“Did they find it?” I had to ask.
“Forty-three years later,” he said, lowering his eyes. “Another man found it.”
We all started thinking it- that his grandfather had died trying.
“You have to wonder… Was the cavansite there all along?” a boy asked, incorrectly, but we forgave him. He was careless with words, while I was usually not. And I had been mistaken about the moon.
I wondered if I would ever live it down, and that night I lay awake, dreaming of astronauts landing without sound as tiny snowflakes on black rock.
I twisted my neck out the window and aimed it at the moon.

One thought on “Moonrock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s