I was in the mode of leaving the evening, had made my way out of the smoky house, but was captivated by the dock, the pond, the moon. The party wasn't
really one of those raucous affairs (most of the night was spent with our hands dancing to the rhythm of shuffled cards
), but this was a strange and sane little moment: a point in time where the world and everything in it made sense.
I was on the dock, lying supine against wet wood, watching the clouds maintain a ferocious pace across the sky. The moon,
You know the old thing about the man in the moon? I mean, you've seen that old old movie where they shoot a rocket and it lands in the man's eye? I could never see The Man before, something about latitude or atmosphere or clarity of vision, but that night I could see every wizened feature, the squinting eye, wry smile, chalky and monochrome as they were.
well, it was unrelenting. It was a revelation.
This moment lasted maybe five minutes before Courtney left the house and came to the dock. She was on the same mission I was on minutes earlier: find Eric and Katherine, say good-bye, go home. She had a more pressing urgency, her boyfriend being a bit on the technicolor side of the evening, but this moon. It got her too, and we were trying to figure out ways to photograph it, through the branches maybe, and where did Eric and Katherine go? and I'm not sure but the paddleboat is missing, so we just stood and watched the moon and listened.
Luke is Going To Puke! Courtney yelled, and the sound of laughter across the lake became audible, as did the swishy-swish, soft and steady, getting louder as the boat approached, emerging from a cloud of mist that hovered atop the water. Courtney and I were painfully patient waiting for it to reach us, both of us tired and drunk and just trying to get on home.
None of these were even considered a factor when the boat finally reached us and Eric told us to HOP IN!, ensuing in a couple of comical moments, this tiny fiberglass paddleboat that was sort of taking on water with just two people, but I fit right up front with nary a problem, and Courtney was trying her hardest to get onto the back. I would look back, making as little movement as possible, trying not to rock the boat, and all I could see was Eric trying to guide the boat to the pier and Courtney's legs dangling, totally separated from the entities of her torso, her arms, anything connected to ground. This is not going to fucking work! and I am going to fucking fall splash in the water! but Eric was kind enough to give her guidance, and Katherine helped the flailing legs find purchase. Soon we were in business and comfortable enough in our brazen naivete, our assumption that NO ONE WOULD GET HURT, and we were off towards foreign lands.
You know, Guys -- this is Eric speaking -- We Honestly Just Wanted to stop By The Pier to say Hello; but we were well into our stealth mission and could not pay his words any regard. I was captain and Eric was helmsman and Katherine was the starboard engine and Courtney was hanging on for dear fucking life. Onward to the fog! was a simple enough command and we were happy to just be going somewhere, to be caught in a moment where everyone was having a good time, despite the inherent risk that they'd be dragging the pond for us the next morning. We had left the torpid party behind to stagnate on its own free will: we were having the time of your life, and you probably missed it. Onward to the fog! because I really wanted to be enveloped by it, to feel that much more that night, but, as we got closer, it wasn't a mist anymore: just a reflection of the sky, so we idled and then were all floored by the moon again. Courtney was on the countdown
which started with "in like five seconds" but she never actually started counting until about a minute later (and, even then, it was like this: "5... 4... 3... 2... ... ... ... ... 1! BAM!")
commanding the clouds blocking our view to be dispelled, and then there we were, alive in the water, finding a moment and letting it pass through us.
After some handy acrobatics, Eric was captain and I was helmsman and Courtney was the starboard engine and Katherine was standing on the rear in a daunting display of just how cocky we were becoming. Eric was happy to stand and feel like a golden god, directing us to foreign shores, paddleboat populations previously unknown to us and all our kind. During our intrepid moment, I started to get a little sentimental, singing there's somethin' in the water, besides a moon that don't know when to quit and forgetting the rest of the song. This lake could've been miles long. This lake could've been our planet. This lake was, however temporarily, our home, our night, our ephemeral representation of happiness and friendship and a thousand other abstract concepts that just abhor being stuffed into metaphors.
Katherine was captain and I was helmsman and Courtney was the starboard engine and Eric had our backs. I feel like I'm Skating On The Water, I feel like A God, and other rave reviews were flying backwards from the front. There would be brief moments where we'd be motoring along and suddenly Did you say Luke was Puking? (oh, not yet not yet, he's fine) and Where are The Others? (asleep, party poopers, fucking nerds). We were running out of room to explore, the lake was suddenly a pond again. We were less than intrepid and more than drunk and I could feel my knuckles whitening in hopes of extracting all of what the moment was worth.
Katherine set a course for home. We drifted back toward the lightless shore, leaving the moon behind.