Summer of Father
My life did not begin until the day I met Father. I was eighteen, Father was only seven years my elder but his soul was that of someone who lived many years and many lives. He had long, golden hair that matched his golden beard. He was lean, without an ounce of extra fat. If you ask me, we met by accident. If you ask Father, there are no accidents.
Father believed everyone had a story, a reason to live. He taught me that in order to fully understand any sort of situation, no matter the time or place or context, I had to understand where I came from and what lead me to my place in this universe.
I was born in Suburbia, United States. Two story houses with carbon-copy layouts, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a lawn and a yard with a pool. Gated neighborhood, only a couple of minutes away from the beach. The only thing that really differentiated the houses were their various pastel colors. Pastel yellow, pastel magenta, pastel pink, even pastel white. It was always too peaceful, too quiet. Nothing was ever out of place, everyone appeared to be content. I would sit by the window and watch as the kids played on the streets and count how many white Volvos there were per block. That summer, I sat and watched as my friends packed their bags, stuffed their parents’ trunks with their boxes that contained seasonal clothing and new dormesque furniture, like caddies and bed raisers, and waved goodbye as they drove off to a new world, one beyond the perfect little world our parents worked so hard to build for us.
The night when my final friend left for her new life, I silently ate my mother’s almond crusted chicken as my parents drilled their eyes against my skull. Their silence screamed at me. It was more excruciating than the bombardment of questions about my future.
I could see the disappointment in their eyes, how I would never good enough for them. I could tell that the endless questions about me during social events had taken a toll on my parents. Oh, is your daughter not going to college? Is she one of those artistic types? She is a looker, why does she not have a boyfriend? I was not motivated enough to go to college and I was too uninterested in boys to find a suitable, wealthy potential husband.Didn't they understand that nothing in this little world was intriguing? Nothing about my childhood was bizarre or traumatizing, there was no reason for me to be like this.
My parents gave me enough love growing up and made sure I ate my vegetables with my prime rib. My father was an extremely successful stockbroker. He loved my mother, the queen of our household and the envy of all the other mothers in our neighborhood. My brother took the role of trophy child. He was the epitome of masculinity. He was cutthroat, competitive, sufficiently smart, and a football star.
I knew that the only reason he loved football was because only on the grassy field, under the stadium lights could he touch the other boys. He would relish in those small moments in the locker room and would get lost in his daydreams where he take his fellow teammates in his arms. When my brother was eighteen and I was sixteen, I walked in on him kissing one of his teammates. He was the quarterback, too cute for my brother. My brother and I never spoke about what I had seen, there was no point. We both knew he would maintain the lie.
I never said anything. Not when my brother was dating the head cheerleader, not when he cheated on his girlfriend with another girl, not when he was secretly having a relationship with a boy a few towns over, and not when he decided to get married to his basic college girlfriend who wore Lilly Pulitzer clothing unironically.
Father and I met at my brother’s wedding.It was mid summer, low tide. I was able to pick my own bridesmaids dress and settled on a baby blue silk slip. My parents said I looked beautiful but I saw how uncomfortable they were with the low cut that showed hints of my cleavage and the spaghetti straps of the dress that revealed my pasty shoulders. My brother met his soon-to-be-wife at a date function at the overpriced Ivy League school he was playing football for. She was pretty, in a plain sense. Brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin, annoying high-pitched voice. As I walked down the aisle, bouquet in my hand, I couldn't help but wonder if I would ever be able to commit to just one person. I stared at my brother, he looked happy enough but for a split second we made eye contact, him at the alter, me walking down. His eyes screamed, “Get me out.” But his smile said otherwise. When the minister asked if anyone objected to their union, I remained silent because even if I would have shouted, I don't think anyone would have heard me.
Even before I met Father, I knew I was attracted to him. He had a power over me. A couple of weeks before my brother’s wedding, the boredom and loneliness became too consuming.My body would break out into hives from pure boredom. The few friends that stayed behind were either starting a family, doing a bevy of drugs, or were just losers. There was always a boy to fuck around with, but there was never one interesting enough to have around. I would spend countless restless nights wondering awaits me beyond this town.
I only found solace in the cooning of old Cuban men. My dusty Buena Vista Social Club vinyls always played on repeat. My eyes would twitch, a side effect from my insomniac state. I would melt into my dark egyptian cotton sheets and tangle the fabric in between my fingers. those sheets must have had the highest thread count at the store. The smell of several fleeting lovers lingered on the sheets. A perfect mixture of marijuana, patchouli, and whiskey. I would snap out of my trance careful not to get lost in the smell, grab the febreeze from the shelf and proceed to spray any evidence away. I never let myself get too attached to any boy because I subconsciously knew that I would be escaping this life soon.
I would climb back into bed, satisfied with chemically emulated scent of fresh linen and ocean breeze. I hoped those chemicals were toxic. I nuzzled my nose against the pillow and drift into my dream.
Every other night I would naturally wake up at 4:35 am. Father believed we had symbiotic time waves, we could not spend a moment awake without each other so the universe coordinated our times as dreamers and times as doers. I came alive at 4:35 am. I would slip on a sundress and my favorite lavender linen sweater. I would tiptoe through my dark house that felt so cold in silence. I would sneak out through the patio door and walk on the middle of the road, simply because I could. I followed the breeze to the beach. It was a twenty minute walk, a walk that I mastered so well. My heart would begin to race when the beating of drums and the strumming of homemade guitar-like instruments became audible. Angelic hymns filled the midnight air, like sirens, reeling me in.
I slipped off my sandals, allowing the grains of sand to tickle my feet. From the distance I would stare at the bonfire. The fire igniting the night sky. There were about thirty young people. All so beautiful, wearing long loose fabrics that wrapped around their bodies. Their arms and legs flowing to the beat of their own hymns. It was like heaven on earth. And they were the mystical, floating angels. I could see a man, taller than most, leading the chants. A beautiful woman on each side of him, he wore only white while the women wore turquoise and fuchsia dresses. They looked so happy, so free. Although I knew I was a safe distance from the bonfire, I couldn't shake the feeling that my presence was known.
During the reception, I proceeded to down flutes of champagne and chase them with pigs in a blanket. Everyone danced on the wooden floor to swanky Jazz music. “May I have this dance?” asked a man who seemed to appear out of thin air. Father was younger back then, his golden hair short, and his beard was just a stubble. I recognized him instantly. He was the man who lead the bonfires. Why was he here? Who was he? How did he know my brother? There was no way he knew Little Miss Lilly Pulitzer. I would have normally said no but when he grabbed my hand and lead me to the dance floor, I followed. He pressed his hand on the small of my back and swayed to the melody. I rested my head against his chest and closed my eyes, unconcerned with the fact that I had just met him. We did not talk until he whispered, “Luna,” I looked at him with sleepy eyes, I hadn't felt so relaxed in such a long time. I wanted to know everything. Father placed a finger over my lips. Even though I was screaming inside with flooding questions, I obeyed his finger. He grabbed my hand as he lead us to the beach outside of the banquet hall. Father knew who I was, I could tell by the way he looked into my eyes.
We stood at the edge of the shore, the outer crust of each wave slightly crashing on our toes. My body was shivering. “I know you have been watching us” Father said, “And I have been watching you. Are you afraid of me?” I nodded my head. I had been exposed. It dawned on me that in that moment, with Father, was the first time I was not afraid of anything. Virgin tears erupted from eyes. I was liberated.
Father took me in his arms, “Come with me Luna, I have been waiting for you all my life and you have been waiting for me.” He grabbed my chin with his hand, tilting my head so that my eyes stared into his. He leaned in, brushing his lips with mine. The kiss satisfied every craving I didn't know I had. I pulled away, “Am I Luna?” Suddenly realizing this is the first time he has heard me speak.
I will never forget the smile Father had on his face. It was one of the rare smiles that captured me and pulled me in. He wrapped his long, rough fingers around mine,“ You are Luna because you only come alive at night, but you must also come alive in the day.”
It was a full moon the night of the wedding. It was the first of many times I would take notice in the moon. That night I was given a name. I was no longer an obscure micro blip in the future of humanity, I was a powerful soul. I was Luna. Luna, disciple of Father, lover of Father, Goddess of the Moon, Dreamer of the Day.
I spent every day of that summer with Father. I knew I loved Father the day that he came to my house for the first time. My house was the only pastel yellow house on the cul-de-sac. He had traded his white garment for black pants and a white tee. It was strange to see him in my world, dressed like the boys I went to school with. Father looked like a child, so young, so innocent. Every time Father exposed himself to me, I always felt special, like I was the one he loved the most.
He introduced himself to my parents as Alex, the name that once belonged to his old self. Alex, born in Downtown, USA, masturbated to old photos of Farrah Fawcett, enjoyed avocados and other superfoods, played the guitar, playboy, Olympic-potential swimmer. My parents loved Alex. His charisma, his knowledge on current events and Jazz music, his good looks had them smittened. That was the only night I experienced Alex. I realize now that I only really knew Father.
I became Luna quicker than I expected. Before the sun would come out, Father and I would jog along the beach. During sunset, we would take a tab of acid. Sometimes more. Depending on our vibrations.
The trips were always different. We made sure to make our trips spontaneous in order to gain higher understanding of one another and to reach our subconscious beings. Father and I liked to touch every inch of our bodies. There was always something new to discover about Father and I appreciated that he would explore me with the same sense of wonder. His eyes would melt into my skin that reminded me of a creamy eggnog and he would say, “It is like my being is dancing with your being.” I would collapse into a puddle of my own putty of my disintegrated heart that belonged to him and only him.
Father knew how much I loved him. He had a sense of entitlement over my spirit. It was so powerful that every time I would put a seashell against my ear, I would hear his whispers. After weeks of becoming Luna, I was shedding my old life behind. I peeled away from the my house and from my everyday routine of nothingness. My parents did not question my behavior. In their eyes, I was moving in with Alex which would lead to an inevitable marriage. They liked that I was going somewhere, anywhere, I don't really think they cared.
Father sat at the edge of my bed, watching me pack my small luggage. He kept insisting I was overpacking, that all I really needed was a “few essential and an open heart.” What Father did not understand was that I wouldn’t just be moving in with him, I was also moving out of the perfect little world, the only world I ever knew. Father enthused about how wonderful the house was and how honored he was to have me living with the Family. I hadn't met the Family yet, I had only seen them from afar swaying to Father’s songs at the bonfire. I was intimidated by their beautiful spirits, at how free they seemed to be. Would they like me? Would they accept me?
Father believed that the Family was composed of interconnected beings and so we had to incorporate similar regimens for illuminating our subconscious while still maintaining some form of agency. Living with Father and the Family meant giving up processed meats and foods, participating in countless hours of meditation, minimal use of technology, and dancing to the moon every night. Father knew I would do anything for him, that is why he invited me into the Family.
He called me “Faithful Luna” for my endless loyalty and innocence. Father really believed I would never leave him. I grabbed my singular suitcase and plopped it down the staircase. My parent’s weren't even home to send me off, maybe it was easier for them to avoid the sad goodbyes. Father intertwined his hand with mine and carried the luggage for me. We walked out through the patio towards the road that led us to the beach. At that moment, I felt like Father was my forever. I believed he was my past, my present, and my future. I didn't realize that by becoming Faithful Luna, I had lost a part of what made me Luna, just Luna. I was not my own entity but rather a creation of Father’s.
Doubt began to creep in when we reached the beach. I could see the light blue house in the distance, The House of Dreamers and Doers. As Father squeezed my hand tighter with excitement I could not help but look back even for a second at the perfect little world I was leaving behind.