We sat quiet, watchful, our knees pressed against our chests and our flipflops slipping against the edge of the bench. A group of men laughed about the lobster they'd eaten. A woman on her fourth gin & tonic danced with a stranger using his headphones as their DJ on the upper deck. A French couple in hiking socks and cargo shorts spread a towel over their knees to keep their legs warm. Somewhere behind us seagulls wailed and dived, and a little boy leaned over the side of the dock to grasp at a vision of the giant fish swimming underneath the surface of the water.
The day had been ordinary. A fast ferry ride to the edge of Cape Cod, an afternoon poking our heads through shop after shop of unaffordable sugar scrubs and cowboy boots and vintage jewelry, conversation that trailed off as we passed eager tourists in pink and green P-Town shirts. It was time together, for the two of us, remembering six years of learning the pattern of life. We scuffed our shoes along the planks of the dock, and felt the salty air against our cheekbones. We wondered, as we often had before, why life had brought us (or kept us) here, working the jobs we worked, living in our red and yellow houses, and we each whispered our dreams to the other: how I longed for the red line and a chai cupcake, how she wished her address was Downtown Crossing and the hum of the T. As we pulled on our sweatshirts it all felt ordinary.
On the boat we told a few stories, laughed and felt our smiles pinching the sides of our cheeks. My dimples always show when I laugh. Her eyes always squint when she laughs. So there we sat: two girls in the ordinary day, shoulders leaning one on another, on the outer deck of the ferry listening to the world.
And then the moon rose.
As we went on, it climbed faster, a thin gauze of cloud occasionally passing over its surface, which changed from deep red to amber to pale fiery white. It was full, and as it ascended it cut the surface of the water with its light. The glow made a path of light directly behind the spray from the boat, and as I watched, the path flickered with the movement of the waves.
In an ordinary day, a day of two girls wishing they were somewhere else, a day of Mexican food and gelato, and feeling the knarled wood of the pier under my feet, the moon rose red over the Atlantic.
And God whispered, "Had you forgotten Me?"
A poem from Lisel Mueller called "Moon Fishing":