Flash The Moon and What You Get Back
She tells me our tip percentage is all about our mindset, even though people don’t tip well at brunch.
My friend at work tells me she can manifest money. We work in a restaurant on the weekends, serving omelets, Bennys, French toast. She is a Russian woman in her early forties and is the kind of person who credits the moon with any emotion she feels.
She tells me our tip percentage is all about our mindset, even though people don’t tip well at brunch. Don’t ask me why; it’s been like this at every restaurant I’ve worked in. Something about the eggs and the hollandaise and the weekend-morning lineups incline customers to tip 10 percent in an overpriced city where the norm is a solid 20.
My server friend tells me that what you think in the world comes back to you in a literal sense. She describes a time where she didn’t have much money, but she got herself a massage anyway. And on her walk home from the parlor, she’d been feeling bad about the expense, and then, floating along the sidewalk, she found a hundred-dollar bill. This—she argues—is proof that money is energy, and when you give yourself the things you need, the world rewards you. Part of me thinks she is full of shit, but then part of me also thinks that it makes sense in a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of a way that what you put out is what you get back.
I like my coworker, even though she takes too many smoke breaks, hates filling the water bottles, and makes me lift anything that’s heavy. She’s not afraid to make fun of me, and I’m not afraid to make fun of her. Sometimes I gently tease her—I mimic her lilt and the movement of her hands and pretend to speak in her wise, certain tone about the phases of the moon. She always laughs loudly in return.
Until recently, I’d been sharing a bed with an ex. The relationship ended when I was having trouble sleeping, partially because I was insecure, but mostly because the moon was shining so brightly one night through her apartment’s curtainless window. I tossed, got up to put on lip chap, grabbed a sip of water. When I got back into her bed, I wished she would wrap her arms around me. Instead, she said I was being annoying and told me to leave. It was 4 a.m. The city was quiet. I walked to my apartment, and the moon lit the sidewalk like a bright bulb—one of those motion-sensor spotlights that raccoons always trigger in the backyards of people who own their homes. That night, the moon was almost full, but not quite—a waning gibbous. Gibbous is a pretty funny word if you think about it—like a monkey.
After work finishes, my coworker comes over to my house. We climb up onto my roof using a sketchy, molding ladder on the back porch. We sit, shielded from the street, behind the dark side of a Mark’s Work Wearhouse billboard. The streetlights are meshing with the stars, and we lie our backs down against the tarmac-like shingles and look up at the sky—at the moon.
“Is it full?” I ask.
“I think so,” she answers. We keep looking up.
“One time I went to an art show,” I tell her, “and the artist had made all these moons out of what I thought was ceramic and papier-mâché. Only they were broken, cracked like eggshells all over the floor of the gallery.”
“Interesting,” she says.
“The artist told me it had something to do with failure—I liked them.”
“They weren’t ceramic?”
“I thought so, but when I asked the artist what they were made of, she said they were something called Hydrocal, which I think is calcium.”
“Like our bones?”
“Yeah, I think, but maybe more like cement.”
We’re quiet for a minute.
“I’m glad the moon is full tonight,” she says.
“Yeah, me too.”
“I think it means relief is coming—we’ll both let something go.”
I think then of the artist and her cracked moon husks, how the pieces littered the floor. It really did remind me of broken eggs. Then I imagine how, in the morning, I would like an egg to eat. I’ll make myself a hard-boiled one. I can almost feel the solid whack I will give it with my spoon—how I will fracture the small moon of its shell. I’ll peel the pieces, let them fall away.