Murphy and the Moon
It sat there. Way up in the sky. Waiting and wanting to be explored, by me. Every movement I made there was a new piece of sky to discover. Stars hung around me twinkling, all the planets sat in a line waiting for me to jump on and look around… “Look Mr Murphy Wesley wants to be an astronaut” The voice hurtled itself at me. Embracing me in something that was definitely not a hug. Why this dream, why not for once couldn’t my space dreams end with me taking the first step onto moon?
I woke up. My hands sweaty, sick of the same old dream, that I have had for a month now. It was three thirty in the morning but I went to sit by the window anyway. Pulling back my old torn curtains I heard a crack from the room next door. Light fled under my door, brushing against my forehead and then zipping away as the shadow moved from outside my door. Grandpa. He always gets up early to leave for work but I didn’t know that it was this early.
Creeping back to bed determined not to make a sound, BANG. Oops, well that did not work. The old creaky floor board that I had just laid my giant clodhopper on had finally given way. There was another movement outside my door, I decided to lie on the floor, my door opened. Blue fuzzy slippers crept into view.
“Come on hop up,” all I could see was his tummy, it was like a marshmallow soft and squishy only a hundred times the size. Not a single hair stood on his round scalp. He has blue eyes that glitter when the slightest bit of sunlight touches them. I normally stare at his eyes, they are pretty. It is the colour I think; vivid light blue, it kind of welcomes you in, makes you feel safe, but right now I did not trust myself to look at them because I knew what would happen if I did. I knew that I had to listen to him; do what he says, he is the only person I have got at the moment. Clambering up of the floor heaving myself up onto my bed, the floor screaming under me. I sat up on the bed next to him. He pulled me close to him, squishing me against his belly. I looked up. Tears running down my face jumping off the end of my chin plugging to their doom as they are soaked up into the quilt that lay hanging off my bed.
“I miss him” I chocked the words evaporating a centimetre away from my mouth. His mouth twisted into a half smile half frown.
“I do too”, whispered the words. But whenever I look at you I see him. You are exactly like him you know? I used to get up in the morning to find him asleep exactly where you sit to look at the sky. He has followed his dream and someday you will to, but you need to sleep if you want to see the moon.” A smile twisted onto his face crawling up to his eyes, I love his smile.
“Just remember my boy, respect is earned. Honesty appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned”. He tells me this to me a lot and I always listen. We sat on my bed talking about everything. Just me and him not minding the cold wind as it circled the room entering from the window. Not even noticing the pitta pat pat of water as it fell from the celling landing in the bucket that sat on the floor beneath the leak. We have a roof over our heads and food in our fridge, what more could we want? “Better get going lad, have a good day at school” he lent forward, his lips touched my cheek. They were cold and cracked, as he rose his whiskers tickled my nose. “Grandpa,” I started to say but he was already out the door.
School… I do not like going to school. Not because of the learning/working part of it because with all my honesty I actually like that. My teacher Professor Flitwick is actually very cool, the best teacher in the world as far as I am concerned. The one reason I don’t like going to school is because of the one boy and his ‘gang’ that I am sure will see me soon enough.
Weeping Willow high is quite simply beautiful. The front office looks like a cottage. It has a blazing red fire on the inside and on the outside flower boxes sat overflowing with blues, purples and reds. Mum would have liked this school but she never got to see me standing in my uniform. Maybe that is why Grandpa and I are so close. He lost Grandma and I lost Mum, in the same car in the same crash.
My favourite place in the school is the field. The grass grows in tussocks and flattens in waves with each gust of wind, only to spring back up as fresh as a bunch of flowers. It was nothing like the uniform green of the grass back home that almost looked combed, with too much gel. Each strand was wild and slightly yellow under the sun and beneath the each was bare soil. Baked and powdery. But the grass isn’t what enchants me. It’s the big Weeping Willow that stand by itself off on its own in the far corner. Different to the others that stand in the soil around it, but beautiful just the same. The pale green leaves float from it’s head all the way to the floor. Gently brushing the grass with each blow of wind. This is where I hide.
The school bell echoes around my head as I take my first step through the school gate. “Off to the dreaded halls” I say to myself.
The halls are always crowded with people and I hate the chaos that it brings. There was that couple who are always together on the left side, about ten meters down there down there is the group of cliquey girls next to them the cliquey boys. Opposite them the Jocks and scattered in between and scattered in between the band geeks with their huge instrument cases. The aerospace kids who never do anything but make paper planes and the fashion kids who wheel mannequins and clothing racks down the halls and then there is me walking all alone not wanting to turn the corner because of what lays behind. The cool squad the ‘gang’ and all of it’s bullies waiting and wanting to their words to sink into my skin draw blood like a knife and leave me there on the cold dusty wooden floor. My foot tiptoed round the corner. But the evil squinting eyes that had already seen me.
His name is Tony… we used to be friends but then I was not good enough for him. His was tall, thin and strong; what every boy wants to be really. His mane of chocolate brown hair fell around his eyes. The same vivid blue of my grandpa’s but meaner. Freckles crawled up his nose, sitting on his cheek. I am not jealous I don’t know why every other boy is. I would rather be me…Chubby, with flaming red hair, eyes the colour of dirt, but always be nice, I could not bully anyone, maybe it was the experiences he had given me but I could not and would not do what he was doing to me.
“Hey fatty what are you doing in my hall” I ignore the comment not wanting the knife beneath my skin. “Oy, listen to me” still ignoring. Something cold and hard hit my shoulder. My left arm instantly fell limp, hanging around my hips. “Please leave me alone” my words came out in a whisper, I am not scared of him just the things that he is capable of doing. “Sorry little fatty, but your Mum is dead, your dad is well who knows where he is?! And your Grandpa what is he going to do. He does not have much life left in him. What are you going to do when he dies?”
The knife had been stabbed into my skin. My blood boiling, I turned away, not wanting him to see the hot salty tears running down my cheeks. My right arm had pins and needles from holding all my books. With a crash they all landed on the floor. Bending down to pick them up his foot rose into the air and came slamming down he kicked my science book and it struck me on the head. I was dizzy everything a blur. My cheeks wet, my arm sore, my head twirling in circles and nobody thought to help me, I must have walked into hundreds of people but nobody stooped not even one.
Slowly stumbling across the field, the grass was brushing against my knees making me itchy. I sat down on the wet dirt. My back leaning against the mosey trunk of the old Weeping Willow. I sat there the whole day repeating what my grandpa said to me “respect is earned. Honesty appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned” I could hear his voice. As I repeated this over and over I forgot about my arm and my head stopped flipping. No one came looking for me nobody care that I was not there.
Later when the bell rang echoing through the school. I had to sit and wait. Wait for the gossipers to leave the school court. Wait for the after school groups to disappear. I waited and I waited. Finally, the last voices trailed off into the distance. The sun lay low in the sky now, but you could not see it that clear. Great dark clouds filled the sky laying so low I think if I jumped I could touch them.
Walking home. Rain failing around me. Grey clouds hanging by threads from the sky. The wind was cold, every time it whipped around my legs it sent an icy shiver crawling up my spine, it would then retreat to were goose bumps would prick at my skin one by one. I shivered. Water was seeping into my shoes from hole in the sole of my shoe. My socks were drenched. I hoped that they would dry in time for school tomorrow because they were the only pair I have. Creeping up my street not wanting to be seen. Something was wrong there was a wailing of a siren it pierced through the silent dark night. There were flickering lights and then I saw it. An Ambulance. It speeds down my road and pulled in a number 4 Private Drive. That’s my house. That’s where I live.
I sprinted towards my drive way rain blurring my vision. My feet were barley touching the ground. Something is wrong. “Tony has cursed me, tony has cursed me” This time I did not care that teas where racing down my face plugging onto the concreate. I did not care that the lights of the houses flicked on as I screamed “Grandpa, Grandpa.”
As I approached the house I could see him laying silent and still on the stretcher. “Hello, do you know this man” I whipped around it was a girl, if I had not had been so worried I would have taken time to properly look at her she was pretty… She had brown hair that bobbed around her shoulders and light green eyes. Her eyes tilted down at the ends like a cats. Her cheeks are painted with tiny golden brown specks and her smile stretched up her face touch her eyes. I do not know how she was smiling but I forced my lips to curl into one to.
I tried to say yes, this man is my Grandpa, I live with him but no words managed to escape my mouth. I stayed frozen, my feet glue to the ground. She must have been used to this, “In the ambulance then.”
He was silent, still, lifeless. “A stroke” I could hear the doctors whispering but I choose not to listen I knew that it was a stroke, it has happened before only he has not been this still for three hours after it had happened.
The flush of red that usually sat on his cheeks was no longer there. His eyes were closed, the vivid blue no longer there to stare at. I am scared. Hot steamy tears filed my eyes seeping onto my cheeks, everything a blur. No colour, just black.
“Murphey” the words came out in a cough and a splutter. “Murphy my boy come sit” Tears still flooding my eyes, the weight on my shoulders made it impossible to lift my feet off the ground, I shuffled over. The bright blue that I loved so much was fading away. The once glittering vivid blue was now a normal pale blue “Your da da dad, he is coming. He will look after you. More tears filled my eyes, I just did not know if they were the happy or sad types of tears.
“Grandpa, thank you for looking after me when no one else could. I, I love you, and then I could not hold it in anymore.
“It’s fine my boy. Just do me a favour always remember that respect is earned. Honesty appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned. His eyes closed as he drew his last wheezy breath.
Tears, sad tears and not just for minutes’ hours and hours of tears. My head pounded with a headache but my swollen, red, puffy, itchy eyes showed no signs of stopping not even for a second.
A hand lay on my shoulder but I did not look up, the same nurse had been in at least two hundred time since his eyes closed.
Looking at him now, the hand shifted of my shoulder. His eyes were closed. His cheeks still soft but white no longer red with life; white with death. I knew this would happen. But I just did know why the time had to be now. “respect is earned. Honesty appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned” this whizzed around and around my head.
“Come on Murphy let’s get going” it was a man’s voice. I slowly turned my head around to discover the figure that sat on the couch next to the bed. He looks like me. His arm’s open wide and I run “Dad”
I don’t go back to that school. Not after what happened. I go to a new school and I make friends. Now I am older I am studying and training and I bet that you can guess what I am training to be.
Hi my name is Murphey, is it weird that I love the night? Does that make me strange? I think that the night sky is just beautiful, the stars twinkling just out of my reach. I could grab one, I will grab one but not today, maybe another. The Moon is my favourite, it sits there way up in the sky hanging off a piece of string holding out it’s hand waiting and wanting to be explored… By Me.
I am still me, but things have changed. I am training to be an astronaut. I live with my dad. Still in the same old leaky house that has the old drafts. But there is one thing that I always remember…
"Respect is earned, Honesty appreciated, Trust is gained, Loyalty returned
and believe me I always will.