Some of you may remember the Supermoon (or the more technical term: perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system) of March 19, 2011. I remember it very well as a turning point for me in a lot of ways. The night was warm, unusually so because Ohio had not quite warmed up to normal spring temperatures yet. There were some spots of snow still hanging around, mostly where the plows had piled it up really high, but things were progressing. The moon was huge in the sky that night, everything around my campus had long gone silent, and I had finished whatever major assignment had kept me from going drinking with friends that night.
It was around 5am and I was totally awake, staring at my wall, and I gave up my will to stay in bed.
Romeo had just gotten off his shift working late into the night. His job at one of the few restaurants in town open past bar-closing time meant that often he was not home until 4am on weekends. We had been trading text messages on and off, talking mostly about how I couldn't sleep and how he would not mind if I came over to visit him. I had told him that I was already in bed and was hoping to fall asleep soon, but the longer the conversation went on, the more and more I realized that I had little hope of sleeping at all.
Finally around 5:30am I relented, put on a pair of jeans, a shirt, and my leather jacket, and left the make the quick walk to his apartment. It was warm enough that I probably could have left the jacket at home, but the smell and creaking sound it made as I moved comforted me. Everything was empty in the moonlight, something that almost never happened. Even in the small town I lived in, there was usually someone else around. For a moment I stopped in the middle of a street and just inhaled the air, feeling a mixture of emotions. I could sense all the change that was coming for me. Soon I would graduate, soon I would be moving to a new home, soon I would be meeting new people, trying new things, experiencing a whole new life--one totally apart from what I had known these past four years in Ohio.
When I got to Romeo's apartment, the door was unlocked and I climbed up the stairs to his bedroom. He was lying there with the TV on to some movie or another. Maybe it was one of the TV shows that channels just fill their early morning time slots with. I don't remember. I took off my clothes, stripping down to just my briefs, and climbed into bed with him. We kissed and made out for a while, but it was clear to us both that we were tired and we were not going to be having sex. That was fine with me. I had come over for the promise of a warm body beside me and arms to hug me as I made my way to sleep. I was exhausted, and I wanted to feel loved as I fell asleep.
It did not take me very long under the warmth of his blankets to realize that sleep was going to continue to elude me that night. Romeo was passed out next to me, twitching and snoring in his sleep, but all I could do was once again stare at the wall. I played a game on my cell phone. I wished that he had not turned off the TV and that I could find the remote to turn it back on again. I gave it my best effort to lay down with him, but sleeping in that moment just did not feel right.
Finally, around 7:30 in the morning, I could see the sky start to lighten with the earliest moments of dawn. I kissed Romeo gently and said that I needed to leave, I couldn't sleep. I told him I was going to just go back to my apartment where I could be awake and not bother anyone. He grumbled slightly in his sleep, but I knew that he had heard enough of what I was saying that he would not be shocked to wake up to an empty bed. I put my clothes back on and left the apartment feeling a little like a zombie. There is a kind of loss one feels when one realizes that the entire night is gone, all that sleep is wasted. It is a sad feeling to know that those hours will never be the comfort they should have been. I was grieving as I walked home.
I stopped in the same street on my way back, still empty even though 7:30 is not so early that cars would have been a surprise. In fact, the whole town was still very quiet. I had a tugging feeling, like there was something I should do, pulling me down, down. So I laid down flat on the ground in the middle of the road, just looking up at the sky where the large moon still shone as the dawn grew. Stars began fading away and I wondered what would happen if a car were to come. But no car came by. I was in a perfectly peaceful place, enjoying the spirit of the town I had called my home for four years. I was embracing nature and letting myself go. I don't remember what I thought in that moment because I thought about absolutely nothing.
There was a moment, as if a trigger had gone off or a bell had rung, when I knew I was ready. I stood up, walked the rest of the way to my apartment, up the steps and into my room. I took off my clothes and jumped in to my bed. Before I knew it, my head was on the pillow and I was asleep.