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MOON CHILD

SADAGAT ALIYEVA

 
 
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ONCE THE WORLD WAS TALL and she was small. There were millions and millions of people all around her.  

Millions of feet were busy walking, walking to millions of places, but there weren’t enough feet to walk with her. Millions of hands were busy doing, doing millions of different things, but there weren’t enough hands to stroke her hair. Millions of eyes were busy watching, watching millions of interesting things, but there weren’t enough eyes to look at her. Millions of tongues were busy chatting, chatting about millions of important things, but there weren’t enough tongues to tell her something nice. 

She was alone. Sometimes she liked to be alone, but most of the time she wished she had somebody.  

While the millions of bodies lay sleeping at night, she sat on her bed and gazed at the Moon. And the Moon looked back. She thought to herself that the Moon too was alone.  

One night, while staring at the Moon, she heard a smooth and silky voice. The Moon was calling her. The Moon’s voice was like running water, like a lullaby she had never heard before. Then the Moon’s rays began falling down to her. They looked like arms, thick and strong, beckoning her to climb them, to climb them up to the Moon—the Moon who knew her name.  

“Come to me,” the Moon said to her. The voice was so kind and soothing, but she had a fear in her little heart. Nothing like this had happened to her before. Nobody even lifted her or held her anymore. She looked at the Moon, and the peaceful, motherly smile gave her comfort and courage. She stepped on the bright, soft moon rays and began carefully climbing. She climbed and climbed. And the Moon smiled at her. The Moon’s smile was big and warm; it smelled like baking bread.  

“Don’t be afraid,” the Moon whispered. “I will hold you tight. I will not let you fall. Keep climbing.”  

And the stars, they were waving and giggling all around the Moon. Their music sang out, “Hello-o-o-o-o-o, cute one. You’ve got star eyes like us, and you can fly like us.”  

“Yes, yes, do as the stars say,” the Moon added. “Fly instead of climb.”  

She tried. And she flew. She flew and flew. The rays were bright and kind, lifting her ever higher . . . 

She visited the Moon every night. The Moon held her, and they walked all around the sky, jumping on the soft, fluffy clouds. The Moon told her funny stories about her star children and silly clouds with her silky voice, and she laughed and laughed. Sometimes the moon rays tickled her feet, making her giggle like the stars. She heard her own voice, little, soft, and jingly, and wondered if she had ever heard her own voice before. Down there. When she became tired and sleepy, the soft moon rays flew her back, enveloped her bed, and rocked her to sleep. 

One night, when she was visiting the Moon again, there were more dark clouds around her than before, and the stars reminded her of the jellyfish she saw under the water when she swam in the sea. She loved the sea; swimming and jumping over the huge waves always excited her. Now the soft motion of the dark clouds resembled the rolling of the deep, dark sea. She wanted to swim and catch the jellyfish.  

“Go ahead,” the Moon whispered in her ear.  

“What?” She looked at the Moon with amazement. “How do you know what I am thinking?”  

“I just do,” smiled the Moon. “Now, go on.”  

She looked at the deep, dark sea again. “What if I fall?” she thought to herself. Her little heart filled with fear.  

The Moon read her mind again. “You won’t. You should never be scared.” The Moon smiled. “I’m always with you.” Soft rays purred against her dark, curled hair. “Trust me, always,” the Moon whispered gently. 

The Moon’s words warmed up her little heart. Her eyes watered from the kindness and her little arms wrapped the Moon. With one last little hesitation she looked at the sea, and she jumped. She jumped from one cloud to another chasing the jellyfish, the laughing stars. While swimming through the sky, she felt the Moon’s long, soft arms around herself, saving her from falling, protecting her from harm. 

Millions of years passed by. During these years the Moon kept her company while she grew. One day, she heard a different voice calling her. It couldn’t be the Moon; it wasn’t time for the Moon.  

She heard her own voice again when she answered the call, a bit different, somewhat dull, for she was older now. She saw a young man standing in front of her, nervous and shy, asking her hand. Also nervous, she reached out her hand. The man held it gently and they walked together through a crowd, hearing a voice saying, “I pronounce you man and wife.” She understood she would not be alone again. Two teardrops rolled down her cheeks. She looked at the Moon that night, and she was sure there were teardrops in the Moon’s eyes too. But the Moon smiled at her as always. 

As years passed, she had millions and millions of children. She became busier with walking, talking, patting, looking, feeding, holding, and kissing. Before bed, she told stories to her children about the Moon, about swimming through the sky among the stars. Listening the stories, the children grew with starry, moonlit dreams.  

Days weren’t always the same. Some days she was overwhelmed and exhausted, lonely and fearful. Sometimes children got sick or hurt, making her sad. At those times, when she felt helpless, she always closed her eyes and listened, and she heard the Moon’s soft and comforting voice in her heart: “I’m always with you. Trust me.” The Moon’s calming voice and soothing words lifted her heart, brightened her eyes, and brought ease to her day. 

As they all grew together, it felt as if she were the Moon and her children were the stars around her; they would jump and dive, climb and fly, giggling together . . . 

Millions of years passed. The children grew taller and moved in different directions. As she got older, she couldn’t move fast or do all the things she had done before. She was alone and rested most of the time.  

One summer night, she stepped outside as she heard a familiar, dear voice calling. The beautiful full Moon spread her arms all around, kissing the treetops. Millions of stars were shining brighter than ever. Her face lit up as she saw that big, warm, milky smile. The Moon was calling her to fly again, but she couldn’t move anymore. The Moon reached out her long arms, wrapped them around her, and lifted her from the ground. And she started flying slowly.  

She flew in the moonlight. She knew this was her last flight. Her eyes welled up, for she was happy. And the Moon was happy too. 

They hugged each other. 

She was a Moonchild after all. 

 

Sadagat Aliyeva was born and raised in Turkan, a suburb of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, during the Soviet Era of Stagnation. Her burning desire for freedom brought her to the United States, where she settled in Des Moines, Iowa.