It was in the middle of the night. The sheets were thrown to the floor, useless. The window was open, and you could hear the sounds of summer. Cicadas chirping in unison, the occasional car starting, and the breeze that was so precious it was worth gold. My hair was sweaty, and I brushed away the bangs that clung to my forehead.
Maybe I should get some air, I thought. I grabbed my flashlight and stood up. My sister was still fast asleep in another bed, sucking her thumb.
Slowly, I walked over to the window and swung one leg over the ledge. The windowsill creaked and I froze. After ten seconds, I let out my breath. My sister still had her eyes closed.
When my feet touched the grass, I was in a whole new world. Instead of rough, wooden boards, my feet felt soft dirt and grass.
Instead of the artificial breeze from the broken-down fan, I felt a real breeze. The kind that is soft and comforting, like a quilt that your mother draped around you when it got cold.
Oh, and the smells. The grass and the dirt and the bark on the trees. Even the moonlight. The silvery glow coming from the moon shone down on every blade of grass that dared to reach for it. It made the sidewalk look metallic—silver. Almost like how hose water tastes in your mouth.
I could write a poem about moonlight. Light, fight, height, bite, I thought.
Even at night, the air was as thick as my mother’s chowder. It was muggy and humid, not the dry heat from Phoenix.
I turned on my flashlight and moved the sphere of light no bigger than a fist toward the house. Everything was calm. Flicking the flashlight off, I sank down to my knees. I lay down on the cool, soft grass and breathed in the scent of the ground.
I let out a yelp when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking up, I realized it was my mother, her long black hair tumbling down her back.
“I saw your flashlight beam,” she commented. She sat down next to me and squeezed my shoulder. “Time to go in.”
She gave me a small, sad smile, like it wasn’t her choice that I had to go inside. I stood up and she took my hand.
“Sorry, I needed some air, and…” my voice trailed off and faded away, like a line of watercolor paint.
She nodded, as if she understood.
“The moonlight,” she said.
“The moonlight.” I nodded, and I took one last look at the silvery beauty before returning to the shelter of my house.