Breaking Reality ch 5
Tom the Frenchman, Friends in High Places, To Mail a Bottle Post

“So how did you come to work both here and the library?”

I recached across the counter for some nuts and chewed them noisily. Smoke floated around the room although it was close to deserted save for us two and an old geezer sitting in the far corner, enjoying a fine cuban cigar. The neon signs flickered anxiously in the background as my friend produced a box of cigarettes he had made himself. He extracted one with his mouth and lit it with a match. His eyes narrowed as he brought the fumes to his lungs, and exhaled with a hint of pleasure.

“Hmm, not sure I have a specific reason really. It would take long to explain at least. I mean...Sure I have some sense of how and why I came to work both here and there, but it is also something which came about by chance. So what I'm saying is that I can't really tell if I have a good reason or no, but I might”.

He took another draw and offered it to me. A special blend he'd called it. Some obscure tobacco brand called medwakh mixed in with some weed. I accepted and enjoyed the remaining half, whilst mulling over the solemn brown room I was in.

“Ok, I'll give it a go. So it has to do with a frenchman named Tom”
“A frenchman named Tom, a friend of yours?”

I felt famished, something Alexander read all to well – being a barkeep and all. He reached under the counter and refilled the bowl of nuts, he also gave me another beer.

“No, not a friend. He died long before I was even born. Just hear me out here, this is a long and strange story and I'd like to marshall my facts as clear as I can here – so please wait till I'm finished with the questions”

I nodded tacitly, took another draw and looked straight into the eyes of Alexander the barkeep and the librarian. My vision was blurry, and I felt two steps away from reality - Like a foreign movie with delayed subtitles – nonetheless, I felt very excited about the story.

“Now, Long ago in France there lived a girl with blonde hair. We're talking the middle 1700's here, or June of 1768 to be exact – before the revolution of 89 -99. Her name was Julie. She was diligent and attentive, which her parents enjoyed since times were hard and let me tell you: France pre-revolution was hard. The king levied merciless taxes on the population, I mean taxes you would not believe! Louis XVI had put the French economy under an absolutely astounding amount of pressure – Historians argue about how many billions he had in debt, but what is certain was that France struggled. Not only had he finished his dream castle Versailles, but he had also intervened in the American war of independence. On top of this, he lavish parties and managed a dozen upstart colonies on all edges of the world. How did he respond? Well tax everything! He said. No that's wrong.”

As he mused, he noticed my empty beer and produced a new one seemingly out of thin air. I noticed that I had finished the cigarette and quenched it in the ashtray. After Alexander had searched his mind for some time, he had some sort of epiphany. His eyes widened and he pointed and nodded to some stranger behind me before continuing.

“He initially took out international loans, but that failed, which led him to increase taxes. So on the surface Louis himself did not seem particularly affected, he bled the whole of France dry. He taxed the rich, the poor, livestock, food, water, furniture. What happened was that the peasants had no food for themselves any longer. The food they produced went straight to the king, since they had no money to pay him with. If there was a bad year, there would be food shortages and all kinds of shit, It was not unusual for people to resort to eating grass, you know the stuff cows and sheep eat? But that's not important; what is important is that this was the world Julie lived in”
“And Tom the Frenchman?”
“No, No he is not there yet. Just wait, I'll get there.”

I had trouble following the story. Not only because I felt extremely high; but also because there were so many details of importance floating about, none of which led me to Tom the Frenchman. I decided to give it my best shot however, and sipped at my beer as Alexander finished his story.

“Julie did not go too school or anything. She had a brother who worked at a bakery with her father, assisting him in deliveries and such, but Julie stayed home helping her mom. She would run small errands for her, sometimes even to the neighbouring village called Montreuil-sur-Mer. You know, the one in Les Miserables where Valjean is mayor for some time?

I starred at him blankly for some time. As I had not read the book, I had no idea what he was talking about – most likely the location was not all that important. Alexander noticed this, he was very good at reading people- and supplied the necessary information.

“It is far north in France, in a district called Pas-de-Calais. As you imagine, it gets cold there in winter. Even more so if you're a Peasant in the eighteenth century. Therefore, her mother worked on the side as a weavess. They had sheep and materials enough to make basic clothes to keep them and their neighbours warm in winter. Julie too often helped her mother, who often lauded her efficiency and will to learn. Julie was liked and respected throughout their village, its name is not important. She never did anything wrong, if she did she would apologise. A perfect french peasant.

One day, it all went wrong however. Wait, I know what your thinking; Some soldiers murdered her entire family, or she was forced to work as a prostitute or something. No, nothing so grand. What happened was that on a warm - unnaturally so - June afternoon, she asked to go out to play in the field. Her mother had not the heart to refuse of course; Julie had diligently scratched off all errands and duties of the day, and now she had some spare time on her hands. Now, I won't get into that, but spare time is a very modern concept. A french peasant had very little free time, but that is all I will say on that matter. Continuing.”

He lit up another cigarette and passed it to me after a few inhales. The Room was by now a blur of brown and neon. The lights merged into one another, and I felt as I was someplace else. Perhaps in France on an unnaturally warm day in June 1768.

“Julie ran, flirt skittering about in the mild breeze. She skipped over fences and rolled down the sloping meadows. Over her, the sun was beating down mercilessly and after a while she began working up a sweat. Playing around, hair all over the place, Julie ran around in her white dress her mom had woven her. It was patchy and worn. If it was not muddy before it certainly became so after.
She jumped and laughed, skipped and yelled. Nothing was out of this little girls reach. For a moment, all the trials and labours of everyday life had vanished. Of course, Julie knew these would all come back as soon her mother called her Home; But for now, Julie was content. Living in the now, she was absolutely carefree - and it felt good.
Approaching a shallow moat where before there had been a river, but empty now after months of drought, she decided to jump it. Her muscles tightened as she increased her speed, she could feel that she were out of breath. Julie continued nonetheless and leaped of her left leg as she came to the moat. Now, ahem. As she landed something absolutely extraordinary happened.”

My mind was in disarray. I felt completely out of touch with reality, but nodded affirmatively that I had gotten the jest of it. The door opened noisily and Alexander vanished for a second. He returned shortly after, took a swig of his beer, and sighed before continuing.

“As Julie landed, something extraordinary happened. First, her hair turned brown and fell of. Secondly, her muscles, which ached so after a lifetime of playing around, become more robust and prominent. Her face too became more rugged and masculine, her jaws widened and an adams apple peeked out from her throat. The most extraordinary thing however, was that her vagina collapsed. And as it broke, a full male penis fell down – two balls and everything. Shortly after, her mother called her home”

I was too high, I thought. This story sounded ridiculous, so I asked Alexander if I had heard him correctly and was shocked when he told me I had done just so”

“So, long story short. The parents recognised him, it had been their daughter after all. They named him Tom, and the newspaper came by shortly thereafter to report the news. After that, Tom the Frenchman lived a solitary life as a baker after his father passed away. Apparently, he got a wife and fathered several kids of his own.”

Dumbfounded, I sat quiet for a moment, taking it all in. How had this story any connection to his two jobs as a librarian and a barkeeper? What was even the point of telling it to me? As I thought about this, Alexander inclined his head just a little and smiled vaguely. The new customer yelled him over, so he gave me another beer before walking over to him.
There was something strange about Alexander. Before now I had not been able to put my finger on it, but I was getting close. Alexander was a male, he had a masculine voice and features. True, he dressed nicely, but not in any feminine way. His clothes were simple but fitted him perfectly. Most often he wore, a pair of tight-fitting jeans, some fancy leather shoes and a t shirt or sweater on top. No brands or anything, but decent looking clothes. His hair was brown and long, but tied back in a bun, which I have heard is the latest in mens fashion at the moment – but I'm no expert.
He had some strange tendencies though. When he walked, his hips would sway back and forth suggestively in the tight fitting jeans. Sometimes, I even found my self a bit attracted to him. His figure was slender and he often performed certain manoveurs in a very feminine way, like brushing away a rogue strand of hair. Tilting his head and smiling in that peculiar way of his. His laugh too seemed a bit off, it was teasing and light. Something was off; And now I thought I had found it. Alexander was gay. I had no problem with that though, what I did find troublesome was that I sometimes felt attracted to him. Not in any burning, I-have-to-have-sex-this-instant- way, but I was charmed nonetheless by his person and his wit. Still, I could not come to grips with what those feeling might make me. I had never thought of myself as gay, but being with Alexander forced these thoughts on me like a child learning to sleep alone in a dark room at night.

I had met Alexander the day after Naome had been found. I had slept through the night, but when morning came so did the questions. Naome did not want to see me? I would think as I finished my regular cup of coffee. She has not seen me since primary school? I'd reflect as I contemplated the grey overcast, which seemed unchanged to the day prior. She has lived a life void of me, though I firmly remember her being with me for seven years, why is that?
Eventually, all these questions would drive me mad, so I decided to escape them for a bit. Of course, I could search for Naome online and find her numbers and whereabout – but it did not seem fitting. Perhaps I was afraid of what she might say when we met. Better to endure a lifetime of ignorance than a heartbeat of sorrow; And, if we did meet and she told me it was over; That we had never been lovers, rarely spoken and had very little contact at all; It would all become real.
I knew I had to contact her sometime and find the answers at some point, but I wilfully delayed that moment. A lifetime of regret is no good thing either, and I'm sure on my deathbed I would regret not having found out the truth, but I did not want the truth right now. I recalled that someone had knocked on my door just before the phone rang, and regretted not having answered. As I went to get my mail, I noticed a transparent bottle standing idly outside my door. In the bottle, made of green glass, lay a note. It had been securely sealed with a brown cork and was now waiting for someone to read it. A bottle post by land? I thought. I took the bottle and tossed it inside. That was another question I had no time to reflect upon.

Shoving the questions aside. I went out into the grey of day and marched on past the oak trees, as solemn and grey as the day before. Five Miles was all the space allotted me, but I was confident I'd find somewhere, someplace to dull that ache in my head. Skies covered all the heavens, not a patch of blue in sight. A wet fog slithered about in the early hours of the day.

A grocery store, two used car dealerships and a coffee shop later I arrived at a Gym. It was called Ken's Lot, and was more of a multipurpose building. The top floor had offices of some kind, the middle floor had a fully-equipped gym and on a swimming club occupied the first floor. A bit hazardous to have a weight room filled with heavy iron bashing agains the floor right above a swimming pool.
The building seemed inviting to me standing on the grey parking lot, flanked by petite yellow mini and a black BMW. Perhaps because it was a healthy riposte against all the grey. Most of the building s in the suburbs where I lived where either concrete or brick coated in colours from brown to grey. Colours which where easily absorbed into that dull, grey overcast. The building in front of me though, had a wooden facade with a concrete interior. The wood was painted like some abstract painting in all colours imaginable. Silent and hopeful; green and red and yellow floated around each other in a perplexing mess. The longer I stared at the building, the more entranced I became.
As I went in, it was like stepping into another world. My eyes found all kinds of textures to rest upon. The interior walls were made of concrete, but the receptionist – a slim girl in her mid twenties – told me all about how they had rented a graffiti artist to paint them. It was a masterpiece, every room an adventure. Although the theme changed from room to room, there was a certain continuity in the work of the graffiti artist. The reception was an abstract swirl of colours, which culminated in a very cool Buddha rendition (I thought it was cool, at least) over the desk. The pool areas was lavishly decorated with more tangible scenes, some from myth – like Beowulf battling with the sea monster, or children bathing and enjoying themselves. Compared to my apartment, it was a sigh of relief.

I signed a membership. An excessive 50 pounds a month, but it also included access to the swimming pool so I figured it was worth it. This was most likely the only gym within my five miles, and certainly the most intriguing.
That done, I made a quick round. I used to work out a lot before, but as I grew older other things took precedence - like working and watching movies with Naome, if that had ever happened. It all came back to me now though. The musty stench of sweat and strained muscles, the grind and feel of the bars and the white spots of chalk brought all back. Brimming with new energy, I spent a good hour working on the base movements. First, ten minutes on the treadmill then I moved on to the exercises. I enjoyed the bigger excercices that focused on a lot of muscles instead of one, and spent most time on them. First, a round of deadlifts. I performed each repetition deftly. Like an Italian painting, the muscles had seared the movements into my memory. After a dozen sets or so of that, I moved onto the smaller muscles. I worked out my back and my shoulders, and finished the workout with some front squats.
I bought a towel and a discounted shorts at the reception and went for a quick swim. I had never swum before, and I found the experience refreshing. Of course I had gone swimming before, but never like this. As as child, in the summers me and my friends would often play either at a local pool or in the ocean. Simply swimming though, was new to me. As the minutes went by, I felt like this was an entirely new world – like an astronaut setting foot on mars. My movements became swifter and more sure, my breathing steadier and I became more aware of what I was doing; Not splashing around in an effort to not drown, but developing my movements and techniques so each round I finished a fraction of a second faster than the one before.
After an hour I got out of the pool. Before showering, I spent fifteen minutes all alone in the sauna.

Finished for today, I spent some time chatting with the receptionist. She was not only beautiful on the outside, but also had a personality to match – something which is not always the case. The formal courtesies out of the way I inquired about the building, and how business was going. Apparently, the building had been constructed by the company on the top floor – specialising in property development and such. They had built a block of houses catering to the middle class only a stone throw away, but it had ended in failure as no one was interested in their flashy designs. The pool and gymnasium had been erected for the purpose of creating some sort of community, so that the people living there would not have to go far to fulfil their needs. She pointed to a grocery store a few blocks down as well as a library which also had been put there by the same company. With the houses close to vacant there weren't all too many costumers, she complained. But the company had spent so much effort on this project that they weren't ready to abandon it just yet so the facilities were all in operation, waiting for the tides to turn. The company was probably losing money every day, but they were betting on things changing; and if they did change, it would prove more costly to close and reopen the facilities than simply keeping them running. Also, the manager of the company – some exotic philanthropist – lived in one of the apartments and took full use of his own facilities.

I felt enticed about this library, a lot of strange things had happened with Naome disappearing, the strange moon on the night of my crash and that bottle post outside my door. I asked for the directions and she followed me outside, pointed at a building a few blocks down, before disappearing with a pleasant wave and a smile.

I walked briskly to the library and wrapped my coat tighter around me, there was a deep chill in the air in part due to the mist and winter was approaching fast. There were no one but me parading the streets, in part due to the chill, but probably also because no one actually lived here. The few who did would be of at work.
The library was the same type of building as the gym. A square concrete foundation plastered with wooden planks. Instead of the abstract pattern that adorned the other building, this was one single colour – Red. Littered across the facade were quotes and citations from famous writers. My eyes found one of them especially striking. It was a red rendition of Descartes famous line Cogito ergo sum , but here written in its entirety “hoc pronuntiatum: ego sum, ego existo, quoties a me profertur, vel mente concipitur, necessario esse verum” meaning: “this proposition:I am, I exist, whenever it is uttered from me, or conceived by the mind, necessarily is true” . Those words struck me as they seem so sure and confident. I think, therefore I exist.
Yet, if one thinks and exists, does one think and exist in the same reality? The reality I think of is not the one Naome thinks of. Nonetheless, we both exist at least albeit in separate worlds.

Concluding Descartes could have thought more carefully or elaborated some before putting pen to paper, I opened the door. Soundlessly, the door seemed to float ahead without me having to push it. Above me I found Alexander standing at the staircase to the second floor, who looked up and offered that smile of his – eyes gleaming teasingly. He descended briskly and offered me that slender hand of his. As our hands met, mine straight as a needle, his bent at the wrist I realised here I had a friend from a very high place.

Since that fateful day, my days are spent followingly. I wake up and wash my face. Then I check my hair Has it Grown? It usually hasn't, which perplexes me boundlessly. If I smell bad, I put on some deodorant before breakfast. Breakfast done, I finish my coffee at the sofa sometimes thinking about the weather but mostly about Naome. Casting Naome aside, I grab my bag filled with a new set of clothes, a towel and something to swim in and head out.
Sometimes I go through the park, but more often than not I take the more direct route through the line of oak trees.
When I come to the gym, I spend about an hour and a half on various excercices, but the time is not fixed in anyway – I simply workout for as long as I feel. I alternate between four regimes called: Deadlift, Squat, Bench and Military Press day.
If I feel like it, and if I'm in no hurry, I go for a swim. Carefully noting the time used and how many laps I did – I have now increased by ten laps an hour. That done, I sit alone in the sauna for some time before showering and changing back to my regular clothes. I am that kind of guy who does not care what he wears. After meeting Alexander however, I have taken some interest in it. Today, I went for Khaki Chinos, a set of brow tennis shoes, and red polo shirt. Since its winter now, I drape a grey cardigan over my shoulder – which have grown wider! - and put on my unconspicious black raincoat.

Why do I go to the library?
Well, to talk to someone I guess, but also to read and find stuff out. Alexander is very smart - not in a condescending I-know-all-way, but in a good what-do-you-wanna-find-out-way - and his intellect has started rubbing of on me. Every day from lunch till afternoon – or evening, if the mood catches us – is spent in that colourful building, exhausting one book at a time. Last week, I suddenly remembered thinking about Galilei's dialogue. I asked Alexander about it who found its complete title: Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, and subsequently turned the library upside down. After a while, he came back to me. Immersed in Jesse Byock's immaculate research on Icelandic Bloodfeud aptly named Feud in the Icelandic Saga, I resisted him for a while. But that smile of his later, and we delved together into the world of Galileo Galilei.

Two hours later, we closed the book. A silent, dry thud as the pages clash together. There is a joyful sadness when finishing a book, like complete and utter silence after a day's worth of toil at work. We sat silent for some time, no one saying anything – mind busy with digesting the arguments, wording and metaphors of the work. After a while, Alexander broke the silence with that infectious laugh.

“Hehe, so Galileo was wrong. What did he say? The earth is not stationary, it moves in circles around the sun. To prove this, he compared the tides to someone splashing around a bath tub. Since motion makes waves in the bathtub, so the movement of the earth produces the tides and waves of the ocean.”
“Yeah, kind of strange really. I mean, he was right essentially. We live in a heliocentric universe, not the universe phtolomew invented where the earth is in centre. Yet, we know that the tides are not caused by the movement of planet, instead we attribute it to the power of the moon.”
“Wow, he sure had balls to challenge the church like that. He kind of had that house-arrest coming I reckon. The way he formulated the debate in the work was not exactly scholarly. Think about it; Having the pope appear as “simplicio” - the simpleton - and Galileo as the rude smart guy was not exactly nice”
“That's true, but I liked how he narrated his debate through a fictitious dialogue though. Its certainly more exciting than todays scholarship”

Like this I leisured my days away at the library along with Alexander. Slowly - we are not the most extrovert people - a friendship began to form. As I walked from my apartment in the morning I would often feel sad, my mind often trudging through layers of difficult questions. When at the library and Gym though, I would be all at ease and my brain fully concentrated on what I had before me. Like moving between two worlds, one sad and difficult – the other beautiful and happy. That said, I could not help wonder if I was somehow avoiding the issue with Naome. It was like I was trying to create a new life here with Alexander, a life immersed in books. For all Alexander knew, I had no lost girlfriend, no beeping monitor at my ankle. An ordinary guy, living a full life. Never did Alexander bring anything unpleasant up without me doing it first, but if I did he would give me sincere and thoughtful advice.

Alexander began bringing an extra set of dinner – he always ate home cooked dinners at the library – and sharing it with me. An amazing cook, he kept his dishes simple, but the ingredients were fresh and in perfect harmony. A lasagne with just the right relationship between meat and lasagne plates, or a chicken soup with carefully picked ingredients – his dinners were all delicious. Sometimes we forgot to eat though, a good book can do that to you.

So today, he asked me to come to his bar. Naturally, I exclaimed “What bar?”. He told me with gentle tones and the occasional joke how he owned the library and since things had gone really well for him he had now decided to open a bar across the street. I could not fathom that as we were the only ones at the library, but he explained that a lot of the business he did was online. He had a website where people could rent books and get them sent straight to their doors. I believed him. He took my hand, and led me gently outside and pointed at his bar.
The exterior was as dull as my house, a grey brick box with a red-tile roof. It was there he told me the story about Tom the Frenchman.


“Sorry, but what is the deal with you and Tom the Frenchman? A girl who leapt over a moat and changed gender in an instant! I can't really find the connection.”
“Hmm, well it might be a bit of a leap. As I Said, I'm not sure this is the real reason or a reason at all. However, I would like you to give it some thought. If you can't figure it out, I'll try to explain it again – better.”

I was on a potent high. Not only had I smoked more than my share of weed, I had also had close to six pints of beer. The world was floating about me. I felt like I was in centre of it all, me and Alexander. Together, we dictated the tides and the oceans. In that high, the pair of us was two moons hovering in the sky, concealed by that damn overhang of grey skies.
For no reason in particular, probably because I was drunk and my defences weakened, I reached into my sports bag and extracted the bottle post. A strange thing, the green flask had been put outside my door. I assumed it had been placed when my door knocked three times simultaneously as the phone rang. Dazed, I had answered the phone but forgotten all about the person knocking – so it was not until the morning after I had found it.
The three knocks seemed important. Like the three pigs, or cinderella's three wished, three knocks had too be important. Alexander and I had spent a great deal of time coasting through the library's corpus of Germanic Fairytales and they all have a set of “magical numbers”. Be it three, seven or twelve; All germanic fairytales had these kind of numbers implemented, probably to make it easier to memorise in a time when books were scarce. So the three knocks and bottle post had to have some greater significance.

Alexander looked at it intently, face twisting in excitement, as I showed him the flask. He leaned on the counter, and supported his head with his hands as he scanned the object. Bent over, he switched his weights from one foot to another, sending his hips swaying suggestively. We remained like this for what seemed to me like an eon (probably because of the weed). My eyes glazed and straining to focus on Alexander's figure. His eyes on the flask, casting occasional and endearing at the mystery man in front of him who had received a bottle mail by land.

“What's the purpose of sending a bottle mail by land?”
Alexander broke the silence with the obvious question.
“Why not simply mail it. If he wanted it to reach you exactly, why put in in a bottle and place it outside your door. Anyone in your hall could have picked it up.”
“Hum....ahem, well maybe he did not want to send it to me exactly? Just someone in the building.
“But why knock at your door then, that's what happened right?
“Oh, yeah thats true”
“Bottle posts by design are meant to be released to the ocean where the currents would take them to someplace unknown and people unknown, who might pick it up and might be able to read it. There's a certain element of randomness in the act of putting a bottle with a note in it out to sea, but this bottle came to you door and your's exact. Why go through the trouble of putting it in a bottle? I return to my first question, Why not mail it?
“Hmm...I'm sorry. I don't know. You're way smarter than me. I have been trying to figure it out but I have no idea. I'm sorry Alexander, I'm a bit drunk at the present hour”
“Ok buddy. That's fine, I like you for just being you. Hmm. Did you see someone place it outside your door or something, anything?”
“No, no I went to the phone. It rang and Naome was gone so all I heard was three knocks.”
“Ok, Ok. Naome you say? Well, its probably not my business. Returning to the matter of the bottle. Could it be that this flask is some sort of metaphor or allegory of some kind. Say this: A man or woman want to give someone a bottle post. They want someone random, some absolute stranger, who they have no affiliation with and no choice in selecting to have it. Now, they can't put it to the ocean. No, often bottle posts disappear for a hundred years before being found – if they're even found at all. So this individual wants some stranger to have their bottle in their lifetime, they want someone to read whatever they have noted. To give the impression of randomness, which this may or may not be, they place it in a bottle and go to some strange place. Content, they rap three times on the door and disappear. In this way they would be close to certain their message is read, but the message would retain that essence of a bottle post. A strange bottle floating through time and space, all the way to your door. You can't just send a regular letter to a random address either, at least I don't think so.”

He downed the last of his beer and smiled at me.

“Haha, I just realised something. The very fact that we're speaking of this is testament to the fact that whatever this person did worked. I mean, he has constructed a mystery sufficient in arousing both mine and your interest – just like a bottle post sent by sea!”
“Haharg, oh. But what is the deal with sending bottle post by sea, if they have the same effect on land?”
“Well, if you're stranded on a deserted Island it would be the only option you have left would it not”

Seeing that I had enjoyed my fill, Alexander skipped over the counter. Hips swaying graciously. He grabbed my hand, and dragged me off. Such strength in those gentle hands of his. Steadfast, he walked beside me holding my hand and supporting my head on his shoulder. I burped and swayed, but he gave no heed. He had probably done this before.

Night had cleared the sky. That strange moon hung amidst stars. No rain fell and no wind blew. As we walked, Alexander and I talked. We talked about ourselves and others, about night and day, love and hate. I told him how I had decided to let my hair grow, how strange it was that it did not grow. Alexander raised his brow, and stared blankly at the moon as we paraded along that all to familiar row of trees. Something I had said had awoken something in him, it was there in his eyes. Under the light of that strange moon, for a moment the gentle and always smiling Alexander looked a bit lost and sad. As we approached my house, a concrete mountain, he broke the silence.

”So you hair doesn't grow, are you going bald or something?”
“I wouldn't think so, all my relatives have a strong set of hair. My dad sported a long ponytail until he turned fifty and my mom decided it was time to cut it off.
“Hmm, trouble sleeping lately? Anything weird happened except that bottle post?
“No, not really. Well, Naome is gone, but I don't feel like talking about it”
“Okay, that's okay. I don't wish to pry”
“I like you Alexander.”
“And I you. Tell me. Do you see that moon?”

He did not wait for a reply, the question was rhetorical.
“It is a strange moon this one. You know why?”
I tried saying “no”, but ended up just shaking my head. Still a bit drunk.

“The moon was blamed for a lot of things before like lycanthropy, or womens periods. Science has quelled a lot of those myths, but something perplexes me. Every now and then a strange moon comes along, like this one. It usually happens in winter, and of course it is always dark. What is strange about this winter moon is that it is not your ordinary moon, it is another moon from another world or something – or so I think. Now if you look closely, you'll notice that is a lot bigger"

I squinted and did as commanded before resting my chin on his shoulder again. It was as he had told. The moon was extremely large, so large and full that its bottom was concealed beneath the horizon. By now, we had come to a complete stop in front of my house and were both peering at the moon. His hand warm against mine. My breath shallow and infrequent, his deep and regular. I felt a tiny bit aroused by this gentle boy as he continued.

“So, if you look even closer – you'll see that it is not grey as the normal moon. Instead, this moon is slightly bluish in colour. Furthermore, this moon has no scars”

He held a soft hand to my chin and directed my gaze upwards. Then and there, I saw that the moon floated inside a sphere of blue. Also, it had no scars – no craters. It was all smooth and fine, covered in a blue mist. Just as Alexander had said. As Alexander dictated, so reality obeyed.
His hands clutching mine, he gave me a warm embrace and kissed me on the cheek – like the Italian's do. He's so stylish, I thought.

“Now, my theory is that this other moon is what has brought these tales of werewolves and witches to life. Although I can't support it by logic or evidence, I feel it in my gut that this moon is what makes those strange things happen. Under this moon, somehow the barrier between realities are weakened. Under this moon, strange things might happen”

Musings done, he asked too stay the night at my place – assuring me he would be no bother. I said yes and led him inside.

Content with sleeping on the sofa, I made some camomile tea and sat down on beside him. Together, we drank our tea. He had a superman cup, I had a wonder-woman one. Naome had gotten it for me for my birthday, but I did not think about that. All I could think of was the soft echo of Alexander's voice as he gently opened the flask, taking great care not to hurt the document when extracting it, and read the contents. Now outside of the flask, the paper looked old and parched, the letters nearly faded to nothing by the wear of time.

My name is Vegard, and I'm unhappy.”

Finished with the letter, which told of a person named Vegard, who wanted to tell his story of how he and a boy of sorts “Broke Reality”, I fell asleep next to Alexander on the sofa. “I can think about the contents tomorrow” I thought as my consciousness drifted of into the world of dreams.

Throughout the night, Alexander did not sleep. No, Alexander held vigil. The moonshine filtered through the windows gleaming when it struck the pollen floating around the room. Again, all sound and colour escaped the world. The only colour remaining belonged to the bird outside, perched on the traffic light. The bird saw Alexander and flew off. With him there, no creatures came at night. No feet strode across the floor. No hair was taken. Silent, with all the time in the world, Alexander sat watching my hair growing as I slept. That night, I dreamt about Naome. She was dancing alone, on the beach under the Spanish sun.

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