The morning is always something different. That means nothing to most people. They will think sunny morning, or cloudy. Maybe a dark morning, or a bright, late morning. A frosty morning. A morning with so many things lined up to be done. A hurried morning. A lazy morning with nothing to do, and trying to decide on something to occupy the time. A weekend morning, perhaps. Or the familiar weekday, rising.
I have forgotten the difference between a weekday and a weekend. I wake, to a day or a night; never knowing which, but I could guess if I thought to, before I fall asleep. Sometimes, hearing the birds beginning to chirp in darkness and seeing the faint outlines of leaves I become drowsy as my day comes to an end. Sometimes I become energized, as it begins. Most of the time I just notice, incidentally, that light is shining outside where it was not before, and sometimes wonder what day it might be. But it doesn’t matter. It is simply idle curiosity.
Five days ago was Galileo’s birthday. He would have been 444 years old. Today there was a lunar eclipse. The shadow of Earth fell upon the Moon. I went to buy cigarettes shortly after totality had passed. The gas station was full of people and the line stopped while two people bought lottery tickets. The clerks always get my pack of cigarettes whenever they see me come in, setting them on the cash register, for when my turn arrives.
The lady in front of me had stringy, crunchy hair, light blond, solidified in calculated disarray. Her skin was wrinkled, tan and caked with cosmetics. Her ass, tight in jeans. A young slender black man wore a bright green jacket, tightly fitted to draw your eyes to the giant silver belt buckle on the front of his designer jeans. A shorter, roll-y man rocked back and forth impatiently behind me, conjuring memories of Uncle Fester. The big man with the giant Mack truck stood aside from the line, booming to the clerk, “so how’s it goin’ tonight sweetheart?” A young boy leaned onto his mom’s leg, swaying with a pack of gummy worms.
The clerk looked at me while the line waited for the lottery scratchers to finish. “You want just one pack today hon?”
“Blood, terror and omens of death!” I cried. “The moon is swallowed!”
The lottery scratchers stopped, looking over at me, while the little boy slapped his mother’s leg and let out a shrill cackle.
“This guy giving you any trouble, sweetheart?” asked the big trucker guy.
I turned to him, “You know, I used to work for Kenworth. You’ve got a Mack there. Any reason you didn’t get a Kenworth?”
His eyes brightened up a bit. “My buddy was getting out of the business and that was his rig. I just took over the payments.”
“Ouch,” I said. “Yeah, I can’t believe how expensive those things are. I got to see the price tags on some of the orders – it’s insane.”
“It can tie you down, that’s for sure. But it’s not like you’ve got a choice.”
“Yeah,” I said, turning back to the cashier. “So, your son babysitting the little scientist tonight?”
“No, she’s over at my mom’s place tonight,” answered the cashier. “I think she’s got the flu or something and I can’t trust my son watching her.”
“Aw, that must drive her nuts, the little busybody,” I said.
“She’s not to happy about it. Always wanting to be reading or playing around with things, and all she can do is cough and lay there.”
“Well I hope she’s starts feeling better soon. She did get to see the eclipse, didn’t she?” I asked.
“You know, I don’t know. I’ll give my mom and call and tell her to get her looking outside.”
“Nice. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing looking,” I said. “Well, thanks!”
“Sure thing, hon.”
As I grabbed my smokes from the counter, I turned and walked up close to the trucker, who stood there, staring down at me, as I leaned in close and whispered, “You know, I always secretly liked Macks, but I’d never tell you, or anyone else.”
I could hear him chuckling as I walked out the door that detected me. At the end of the row of parking spaces, a man was leaning in through the driver’s window, shouting at girl in the passenger seat. As I neared he yelled, asked me what the hell I was looking at.
Turning slightly left and looking toward the stars, I could see the moon, still copper-red. “Blood, terror and death,” I said, and continued walking to my car. When I sat down inside, I saw the yelling man throw something on the ground then storm over to the gas station wall. He put is back up against it, and his palms on his forehead, then crouched down. The girl stormed out of the car, yelling at him.
The drive home was bumpy, full of holes along the road, threading tightly through construction markers. As I turned in the driveway that leads back to the house, I saw the huge evergreen tree blocking the eclipse. I thought, I bet this tree is the oldest tree left out here. When I turned off the car engine, I heard one of the helicopters overhead, flying by in the night.
Now, I am here, warm and inside, wondering how I might write about morning.