For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Gentleman and the Moon”

Mercé Rodoreda

Excerpt

“And what happened on the moon?” I’ve been expecting that question for a while. Well then. On the moon, nothing the first few days. Lots of light, that’s for sure, because the moonlight on earth is very different from the moonlight on the moon. On the earth the moonlight’s spread out, while on the moon it’s all packed together. The night’s huge paws hold it down, and we only see what escapes from between the fingers … The ground was silk, the color of white petals. During the first few days, my emotions kept me from seeing anything. It took me quite a while to realize certain things, because at that moment, and from far away, everything looked the same: the flour mountains and snow mountains they have there, the meadows of leafless gardenias, and the big ponds full of milk with sleeping swans. The clean sheets scattered about … What happened to me can only be compared … I’m sorry, I can’t even find a comparison. And that secret … the secret which made me laugh while I was sweeping the dining room floor, or washing the only dish that got dirty … which gave me the urge to laugh when some poor jerk walked by—someone like you, who didn’t know where the mills are that you can’t see by day or night, the transparent cows, drunk on anisette and water, the strange descending intrigues of the jasmines, magnolias, and tuberoses, the whitewashers’ graveyard … I thought if they could only see me, all dressed-up at night, going out through the little door on my way to the moon. And not once or twice, but every night, every blessed moonlit night, every, every, every, every night … And while I was doing housework and hanging out shirts on the terrace, I’d be saying in a soft voice, like a song: every, every, every night …