Sûrah LIV
THE MOON
"The hour drew nigh and the moon was rent in twain."

54
SATELLITE

PHOEBE

Prank.

With all its prejudicial taunts, the world invades what served as a refuge, their retreat from slurs and insults thereby threatened, if not defiled, by what the women apperceive as a tacit violation—Amy less inured to the culture's charge "abnormal."

PHOEBE

Hey, don't freak out. Just kids, is all. They jammed the buzzer with a toothpick. Nothing personal. No big deal. Come on; let's catch a few more z's.

Phoebe tries to steer her houseguest by the shoulders; Amy flinches, shrinking from the contact with ill-disguised aversion; she feels blamed, as if whoever rang the doorbell did so pointedly.

PHOEBE

You're not leaving, are you?

Phoebe, long-familiar with second-thoughts, intuits Amy's with a pang of disappointment. Not about their intimacies to date, which she has relished, but rather about the ones they might have shared, which seem in doubt. The indecision Amy signals is a hint of trials to come wherein their fledgling love may falter, ultimately lapse.

PHOEBE

Will you call?

No sooner asked, the question backfires; Amy's frigid silence answers. Fully clothed now, she feels past excesses press against her flesh, as if the fabric captures clammy proof of last night's indiscretions and indicts her for behavior deemed unnatural, lewd, depraved. A sly seductress must have lured and lulled her. "Women's Liberation"—Phoebe's battle cry and pillow-talk ploy—had recommended bed, wherein "the scourge of penetration" had been ardently disdained (a stash of strap-on toys and butt plugs saved for future assignations). More than anything, Amy wants to hurry home and shower.

PHOEBE

Well, I'm here. You know my number, my address; call, come, whatever.

A host of haunting contradictions ushers Amy from the premises. She feels swallowed and regurgitated; she feels pampered and restored. She feels disloyal to the men who took for granted her proclivities; she feels intimate with an aspect of herself long unfulfilled. She feels ashamed, if latently titillated, compromised yet empowered, at intervals guilty, glad, defiant, sad, but most of all relieved to be alone so she can think; she has to think, to sort things out.

Amy hustles from the flat,

  • then down the stairs,

  • then out the door,

  • then through the grate,

  • then to the sidewalk.

Not a soul is on the street. Or so she reassures herself before proceeding right on Fulton, left on Fillmore... unaware her tracks are traced, her goal foreseen—by a pair of moons whose tandem orbits, in furtive concord, vie.