I’ve always liked doing dishes by moonlight.
I don’t turn off all the lights in the kitchen, of course, and rely just on the moon—well, that one time, but that was an unbelievable Harvest moon that gave almost as much light as the sun, and I had turned off every single light in the house—and called the neighbours across the street, asked them to turn off theirs, so I could bask, drown in the moonlight.
The moon had an orange tinge, and for a split second, it burned the kind of red people who read romance novels call crimson (but artists call vermillion), and in that split second, I believed in magic—also werewolves, and, vampires.
But then, the dishes called—I knew I had to tackle that mountain of dishes before going to bed. There is also this magic, in which I believe even when the moon is not full and brilliant—when you leave a mountain of dishes in the sink overnight, it reproduces and it’s bigger, insurmountable, in the morning.
And if it’s not, it is one of the most convincing lies my mother has told me. All the more convincing because she has been whispering it into my ear for years
Dishes. Moonlight. Dish cloth.
Harvest moon, so brilliant, almost crimson.
The dish cloth was orange, I remember, orange and on its last legs. It smelled bad. I really should have tossed it. At least washed it. But instead, I plunged it into the almost boiling, sudsy water in the sink, and the water was too hot, and I cried out in pain, and that’s when you came into the room.
“Lover, have you seen the moon?” you said. And you came up to me, behind me—that distance that also makes me believe in magic, as close as one can get to another without touching, so close the electrons of our atoms get all mixes up and connected, and we are one—but look, we’re not even touching.
“Lover, have you seen the moon?” you said again and you took the dish cloth out of my hand. Didn’t say how gross it was—but you plunged your hand and mine into the hot water again and I yelped again. You didn’t. You kissed my hand and took it in yours and pulled me towards you.
“The dishes,” I said.
“The moon,” you said.
We climbed up on the roof—me first, you behind me on the ladder, a blanket under one of your arms—and the moon was even larger, crazier, madder from this vantage point. I gasped with pleasure so intense you laughed.
“My rival, the moon,” you whispered, as you lay me down on the blanket, the roof.
No longer crimson, but still brilliant.
I don’t call it making love much these days. Nobody does. We call it fucking, even you and I, even when the mood is soft and romantic—“I want to fuck you so much right now,” you will whisper in my ear in the lobby of the theatre; “Let’s fuck,” I will tell you as I lead you into a bedroom, a dark corner of a moonlight park.
But under that moon, that night—a mountain of dishes undone in the sink under us—we made love. We had no choice: the moon demanded it.
In the morning, you left the bed while I was still sleeping—spent, I barely heard your alarm, almost slept through mine. Moonlight, brilliant, love making, delicious—so long as I slept, it was mine, I didn’t want to let it go, wake up to reality—and that sink full of dishes.
And you knew that.
That’s why you woke up before your alarm. And when I walked into the kitchen, the mountain of dishes was clean.
I still like doing dishes by the moonlight. Whenever I do, I remember you. The harvest moon. Making love on the roof—waking up to the washed dishes.
And that orange dish cloth, in the garbage.
There are so many ways of saying “I love you…”
Only a few of them involve moonlight.
For Nicole: Cardamom Knob Wool
For Jenn: Piano River Feather
For Lara: Peasant Cicada Pomegranate
For Paola: Stoked Sunrise Ferocity
For Nina: Crimson Brilliant Moon
P.S. To get an invitation to the brick-and-mortar book launch of Tell Me (print copies coming November 17!!) and early notice of the release of Consequences, subscribe to For Your Eyes Only, a super secret (Do. Not. Tell. Anyone!), very occasional titillating update from M. Jane Colette about super secret (Really) upcoming new releases and projects.
P.S. 3 Look what I discovered! I can sign your e-book!