As a boy, he would try and pinch the moon between his fingers.
“Look mom! I’m holding the moon!” He would yell enthusiastically over his shoulder as they stood in the city square on summer evenings.
The moon would chuckle and was glad the boy found such delight in simply playing games with him. Trying to grasp him in his hand. Curious about who lived with him. Asking him questions about space and time.
As he grew older, they would walk among the gas lit lamps of the city. The Moon listened as the young man, Mr. Mirror, shared his dreams, the girls he loved, the books he read, and the moments that moved him. His greatest desire was to create, and when he would speak about his love of art, little bits of his creativity would reflect into the city for others to enjoy and ponder.
Sometimes, though, when he would show up for their walks, the Moon was gone. Sometimes he was only partially present. Other times, just a sliver of him seemed to talk back to Mr. Mirror.
One day, Mr. Mirror boarded a great ship to the edge of the world. He tried to say goodbye to the Moon, but when he went to meet him under the gas lit lamp where they would commonly met, per the usual, the Moon was nowhere to be found. Mr. Mirror quickly scrawled a note letting him know he would not return for some time. For the edge of the world is a dark place, full of mysteries and if rumors were true, the blood moon ruled there.
When Mr. Mirror left, the Moon swept in from behind the shadow where it often hid and retrieved the note. He watched as the young man boarded the ship, and hiding in the sky, the Moon followed from behind it’s shadow for many years.
Mr. Mirror soon found himself in a land of rugs, sand, and heat. In each bazaar he visited, the beauty of the landscape and the sparkly things reflected off him. Others took notice and stared deep into his mirror. Sometimes they saw themselves. Sometimes they saw fairy tales. Sometimes they caught glimpses of moonlight, but only for a second.
Throughout his long journey, the Moon hovered overhead cloaked in his shadow, always smiling. There were times when Mr. Mirror swore he found love. But soon found his reflection fading or darkened. Other times people would scratch and scar the reflection. With time and journey, just like many others around him, his reflection bore a weathered texture, and at times what he reflected back was broken or distorted. Underneath each reflection, though, was always a glimmer of moonlight.
After many years, Mr. Mirror returned to his homeland and found himself wandering a cobblestone street and stopping under the old gas lit lamp. As he bent to tie his shoe, he discovered a note at the base of the lamp.
“Mr. Mirror,” it began.
“Would you like to go on an adventure?”
There was no name. Just a simple letterpress card with black ink. Removing a pen from his pocket, and ever one for a mystery, he simply wrote at the base of the card, “yes,” and returned the card to the base of the lamp.
The next evening he returned to the old gas lamp and found another card waiting.
“Today we go to the forest,” it read.
Mr. Mirror grabbed his satchel and began to make for a run down path near the gas lamp that led into a forgotten forest. As daylight began to fade, the forest grew ominous, and the wolves began to howl. Just as Mr. Mirror was about to turn and run, he looked up through the trees and saw pieces of an old friend.
“Mr. Moon?” he asked in surprise. It was hard to make out the Moon as many of the trees obstructed his view, but soon the forest began to lighten as rays of moonlight began to reflect off Mr. Mirror. Despite the grooves, fractures, and scars he bore the rays danced in the forest creating an unnatural beauty.
As Mr. Mirror twirled, he saw animals laughing, trees swaying, and heard the crickets sing to create a symphony of song and dance he had never seen before.
“Is all of life like this?” he asked the Moon. “Is it just hidden in the dark?”
The Moon smiled, nodded, then quietly told him, “Use this knowledge and create like you’ve always wanted.”
“But what about the broken pieces? The fractures and scars? My reflection has lost its luster,” he frowned.
Upon this proclamation, the moon moved through the trees and landed gently in front of Mr. Mirror. The glow was so bright, he had to shield his eyes, but when they adjusted, he looked down at his reflection. The scars and fractures were filled with moonlight, and when they shone into the forest, the old wounds began to sing stories filled with moonlight.
“The fractured pieces tell the best stories,” the Moon stated, gesturing to the light monologues happening around them. “For had you walked through life unscathed, they wouldn’t create the beauty they now reflect.”
Mr. Mirror watched as his heartbreak now reflected a story of perseverance. Where his loneliness was, a story of friendship began to emerge. As he stood watching the light rays make art and story, townsfolk began to emerge from the woods. Soon many gathered and took seats watching the light performances. When dawn finally broke, the men and women sat entranced.
“Will you tell us more stories tomorrow?” they begged.
And so he did.
Until the end of his days he told stories, and with every new scar, lesson, fracture, joy, hurt, and triumph the moonlight shone ever brighter.
Written and read for my friend, Mattias Alegro Marasigan (Mr. Mirror), on his 30th birthday.