Written by Rivers of Tarmac
This is a story about a boy who fell in love. An ordinary boy, at first glance, and he lived an ordinary life. But he was entrusted with a great secret: there is only so much happiness in the world. This boy was the only child who knew this – and at first, that was fine, because with the secret came a responsibility; he could hand out this happiness as he chose. He tried with all his might to keep the happiness fair for everyone. Sometimes, however, he neglected somebody. When this happened, he had to give them something special. Something wonderful. But to hand out something wonderful would mean a big change in the happiness levels somebody would have to lose (edit). And when this happened, whatever it was they lost – if it was their lover, their money, or their pride – he would take it and cast it into the sky, where it would shine brilliantly to remind us that we all must pay the price, but that life can still be beautiful. And while they where there, they could be company for the moon.
The moon had been lonely; lonely for years. Each night, when the boy was finished his tiring work, he would go and watch her. Her dazzling beauty, her kindly generosity, her contained splendour. And as he watched, he felt his heart grow and swell; when he cast friends into the sky for her, however, he felt a cold burn in his chest that he had never known: jealousy. For the boy had come to love the moon as he watched her shining defiantly in the murky, cloudy sky. This innocent young boy with a terrible gift had never felt jealousy – how could you be jealous of anyone when you knew their happiness was another’s pain? And so, as he watched the moon’s stars, the boy felt for the first time in his short life, the stomach twisting envy of another.
The boy began to withdraw. He stopped watching the moon each night, for he did not want to see her glow with happiness for someone else. He began to shrink away inside himself. He forgot to keep control over people’s happiness. One man miraculously recovered from the brink of death, and elsewhere a newborn died, such events where happening repeatedly by the minute. The world was churning with unrestricted emotion. This continued for twenty days and twenty nights and, then, on the twenty-first day, it stopped. The boy went back outside. He watched the moon shining, and he made up his mind. For why shouldn’t he be happy too? He, who had spent all his life in the service of others? He wanted his turn!
The boy should not be blamed for the sudden turn of events, for truly he loved the moon. He loved her more with each minute, more than anything had ever been loved. And so he reached out into the sky and he pulled her down into his arms. It was a horrific thing, to take the moon from the sky, but oh! How sweet it felt! To be happy, to hold her in his arms. She stood there, a maiden coloured in silver and white, and she smiled sadly at him. She did not belong on the ground, and yet she could not bear to make him sad. She did not know his secret and, in his joy, he had forgotten it too. And so she stepped into his arms and she kissed him, feeling happier than he had ever felt in his lifetime.
Around the world, the happiness he was sucking away was affecting people, with rage and sorrow filling its place. Shouting and tears filled the world. People began to despair, for the stars were disappearing, just as the world fades in the blink of an eye. And all the while, the boy who knew too much was filled with such joy. He held her and kissed her and called her his love, and suddenly the moon knew she loved him too. She always had. But it was cold down on the ground, and she could not speak. She kissed his face and he took her to his home, and they were, for a short time, happy. But they both knew it could not last. The moon could not stay in this place, and she had the wisdom to look around, to see what was happening in the world. With nothing but a silent kiss, she fled back into the sky, and the sorrow in the boy’s eyes hurt. She shrunk as a shadow of her former self, no longer as dazzling and bright. Slowly, she looked for him, and found him crying. This took her twenty-eight days and nights, but at last she turned to him, and found her voice.
Do not despair, for you must keep the world happy, my love. I shall shine for you, every month, to remind you of this; yet I must hide from you every month too, to remind you of your sin. You must not forsake the world for yourself. When I am here next, I hope to see you have put this right. I will always shine for you, my love. But from afar, as it should be. Then she turned away, for to look upon him saddened her, and she would not have him share her pain.
The sorrow that filled the boy left happiness to return, but it was tainted. For now the people knew the secret; they knew that others must suffer for their sake. And that boy, he did as he was bid. He took his mistakes and he turned them around, he made us smile again, but he left a legacy. For true happiness has a price of tears now – tears that we unknowingly shed for the boy who lost the moon. And then, with nothing left to do, he cast himself into the night sky in a hope of reaching his love. Alas, he missed, and he burned up trying to reach her. But lighting the night sky as a falling star, he showed those on the ground the true beauty of despair. The stars fall, the moon hides her beautiful face, and the smiles we share are tainted with tears. And we keep going, in the way that the boy who lost too much could not quite manage. He was simply a boy, in love.
Rivers of Tarmac’s adorable short piece of fiction is a take on a classic children’s tale. James Christopher Carroll penned a tale of a boy visiting the moon and dancing into the night with magical creatures, while Rino Alaimo takes us on a mystical journey when a boy falls in love with the moon in his short children’s animation. But Rivers’s piece shares an interesting moral behind the simple story. If you enjoyed this piece, why not check out Rivers’s other pieces, including ‘It Is Hard To Tell’ and ‘Bruises‘.