In his aluminum chair at the table outside the cafe, the man looked up at the moon looming over him. Melancholic shades of blue echoed in silvery beams from its surface down to him and he sighed. It seemed particularly large that night, and he thought, even, that it felt as though that big blue moon was suspended, held up by one lone string that might snap at any moment causing him to be crushed. As he pondered that looming moon, that giant weight in the sky, the waiter approached him. The waiter was a young man, a person that, when you looked into their face, you could see the inexperience, and perhaps even the vitality that rests on the countenance of a life unlived.
“Anything else tonight, sir?” The man pushed his glass forward.
“I think you’ve had enough for one night if you don’t mind me saying sir.”
“I don’t mind. In fact, I’ve probably had enough for three lifetimes.” The waiter stood, unsure of what to do. The man knew it was cold out, a cool breeze was blowing South, and it ruffled his napkin and gently danced its light, thin fingers across his face. It was pleasant out, but the man felt a pressure on his chest, a pressure he always felt, so it was not so nice a night for him as it was for others.
“Would you join me?” he asked, indicating the cafe chair directly across from him. Despite the cold, the man was now hot, and he wiped his brow with his napkin removing a single bead of sweat from his thin hair.
“Perhaps it’d be better, sir, if some friends joined you. I’m not exactly sure what you and I would talk about.” The man looked at the full moon, hanging above him like some ghostly chandelier.
“I have none who would.” The waiter checked his watch. For a brief moment he considered leaving, but as if moved by something beyond himself, some ancient force that might know the import of conversations such as the one that may be had, he began to join the old man. He pulled out a chair gingerly and sat, timidly, hands folded in his lap, legs crossed, across from the man in the aluminum chair.
“I have two or three minutes to spare, I guess.” The man eyed the waiter for some time, searching his dark eyes for the soul within them.
“Have you ever done anything bad?” he asked.
“Bad?” replied the water.
“Yes, something bad, or wrong.”
“Well, I’m-I’m not sure.”
“Yes, you are.” The waiter, shocked, looked at the man’s face and saw the lines and wrinkles of a life lived. The waiter thought
, but did not speak.
“I have,” the man said. “I was a thief.”
“Yes. A thief. A lying, stealing miscreant.”
“I’m sure you’ve done nothing that bad.”
“I’ve killed a man.” The waiter tensed in his chair and his hand shifted, knocking to the ground a silver knife that glinted in the moonlight as it clattered on the ground, producing a sharp sound that matched the sharp cold of the wind on his hands. The man felt the cold now, he was no longer hot.
“He was young. I watched the light leave his eyes, the color leave his lips, and the wind leave his chest. I think maybe that extra wind was transferred over into me somehow, to carry it with me. Maybe that’s the price we pay.”
“The price we pay for what?” The man did not respond. He only stared at the moon in the sky above him, the bright eye of God that watches at night. The young waiter followed the man’s gaze until his own reached the blue moon. It looked to the young waiter, like a period in the sky, as if he were staring into the face of finality. The waiter looked at his watch. Five minutes had passed, though the two had barely spoken.
“I guess you must be going,” the old thief said before the waiter could utter a word. “I think that means I’ll be going too.”
That night, as the waiter lay in bed, he saw through his window the blue moon, that celestial body dangling over him. He thought of the old man and his crimes. In the old man’s room, the thief was also lying in bed, but he was thinking of the young waiter and his little watch. He too saw that very same blue moon outside his window, but he was just more used to it hanging there. They both fell asleep, and their dreams were filled with images of that big blue moon. Neither man could escape it, even in sleep.