I don’t know when it was exactly that Gus became transfixed by the moon. I remember, awhile back now, during a bedtime story, that Gus pointed to an image of the moon and said a long drawn out, “Moooooo!” He smiled wide, pleased with himself. I was pleased, too, this was the first time that he had pointed to a picture and said its name. From then on, it seemed, Gus never missed an image of the moon in the books we read. It was a moon scavenger hunt each time we turned the page. Who knew there were so many images of the moon?
A few days ago, the three of us head out for an early evening walk. Gus enjoys and insists on taking the lead. We end up taking the long way, walking the sidewalk to the park, instead of cutting through the back alley. We live in a popular, urban Chicago neighborhood, where people from all walks of life can be seen out and about. All along our block, neighbors sit on their front porches conversing in Spanish, while their children play and ride bikes. In the distance, the train rumbles on the tracks, returning the evening commuters.
“Up, Mama.” Gus has outdone himself. The route to the park has become too long. I pick him up and carry him at my hip. He’s heavy, but I’m happy that our faces are close. I kiss his ruddy cheeks; he smells like the graham crackers he ate for snack. Abruptly, Gus raises his arm and points to the sky through the naked tree branches. “Moooon!” he says. The sky, still lit with daytime light, suppresses the small, pale crescent. I am certain, that without Gus, the moon would have gone unnoticed.
Young Gus, at an age before memories, where does this moment go for you? Is your affection for the moon one that your heart will remember? Ten years, twenty years, or fifty years from now, will you see her pale figure on an early evening walk and feel an inexplicable joy?