Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Moon Tigers

I quite like things with the word 'moon' in them, she explained, one evening. We were sitting in her kitchen, astride the kitchen counter like a couple of kids up a tree, ashing out the window and drinking iced tea. Our bare feet were in the sink, my heel between the two of hers, nuzzling the drain. It was warm in the house and felt like summer even though it was raining out. She listed them off, saying she had no idea why this should be, only that the moon invariably added mystery that wouldn't otherwise be there: Moon Palace by Paul Auster, Moon River, Moonstruck, The Moon and Sixpence, Moonlight in Vermont, Goodnight Moon, Blue Moon, Paper Moon, Pink Moon, Half Moon Bay, The Moonstone, Moonshadow by Cat Stevens, Melies's Trip to the Moon, the Moonlight Sonata, Harvest Moon, Gibous Cresent Waxing and Waning Moons, also a poem by Ted Hughes called Full Moon and Little Frieda. She thought there were more she was forgetting. Then she told me that she had just finished re-reading Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (that same day, in the park) and recited her favourite passage which she knew off by heart now: it described the main character crushing a eucalyptus leaf in her hand, smelling it, and 'crying not in grief but in wonder that nothing is ever lost, that everything can be retrieved, that a lifetime is not linear but instant...that, inside the head, everything happens at once.'

Garry Winogrand took this.
She kicked me when I said I hadn't read it, even though I was at the time studying 20th Century Egypt for my MPhil in Anthropology. 

After that I would call her whenever there was a suitably pretty moon in the sky and have her look out the window so we could share the moment, once or twice demanding--so ecstatic was I by the moon's shape and colour hovering on the skyline--that she get out of bed, leave her boyfriend, and see what I was seeing.

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