”It‘s such a pretty view”
Rita sat silent on the edge of the roof of the 200 story building with her feet dangling over it. The wind swayed her dark hair in a rhythmic manner and she took a deep breath of it and tasted the dirt that flew with it.
”Do you think we‘ll ever go up there?” She said, looking up at the night sky. Watching the blue marble that sat in the dark, glowing.
”Sure we will. I‘ve heard there‘s gonna be new job openings to clean Earth‘s forests. And nobody wants those jobs… but we could take them, and then they‘ll have to take us there.” Leon touched her hand on what seemed to be the edge of the Moon‘s sky.
”Do you see that?” He pointed at a slowly moving white dot in the distance. ”It‘s one of the transports. We‘ll be on of those soon, you‘ll see.”
Their bare feet played together above the streets of Zenitar. The smell of freshly cooked food reached them through the buzzing vents on the top of the hotel.
”Oh, what I wouldn‘t give to eat one of those meals they‘re preparing right now… ooh… I‘d give anything.”
”Would you give me up?” Asked Rita.
”Of course not, I‘d give anything but you.” He smiled at her. ”You‘re my special lady”.
Rita put her hands on her legs and looked down the cliff, her face blushing red.
”What do you think people do on the forests of Earth? Do you think they walk around them all day, picking flowers? Saying hello to the little animals?” Her gaze rose to the sky again.
”Naaah… I‘ll tell you what they do, they dance.”
”You think so? What kind of dance?”
”All kinds of dance, they get together with their friends and family and then they dance until their legs just won‘t go anymore.”
They sat silent. Leon looked at her smiling face, and then looked at the city below them. A grey city. A metropolis of stone and light. Neon billboards illuminated building sides and speeding cards illuminated the dull streets. The streets that were their home, the streets that were filled with vermin and pests. He knew they‘d never be given the chance to leave, he knew they would never be able to get those jobs and go to Earth.
”When we go to the forest and clean it up… will you dance with me?” Said Leon.
”Oh… but I don‘t have anything to wear, I‘ll look ugly…”
”Well I‘d buy you a green dress. And we could dance below the green trees and we could sing with the birds and we can swim in the lakes and sleep beside each other on a small hut made of leaves.”
Rita smiled a big smile, a smile that showed all the teeth she could show. She leaned towards him and gave him a soft kiss on his cheek.
”I‘d like that.”
Leon hurried through the emergency stairs in the back of the tall hotel in the Lunar city: Zenitar. He was late for his daily meetup with Rita on the roof, the meetups that made his day bright.
He thought of her as he sped through the steps, of her dark hair, of her feet that liked to dangle from the edge of the roof, of her sweet voice. He thought of the many times they sat on together, sometimes looking up at Earth and the stars wondering what life was like in those places, sometimes looking down to the imposing metropolis that was their home, at the multitude of tall buildings and glowing billboards, at the speeding cars feeling the wind pass through their hair.
“Rita!” He yelled just before he reached her.
“Hey!” She said. “I thought you weren’t coming!” A big smile formed on her face showing her unusually straight teeth.
Leon laughed out of breath and held on to his knees, his face red. “Oh c’mon. You know I always come.”
Rita made a simple jumping gesture and then reached towards him to give him a soft kiss on the cheek. “I missed you today.”
“Oh did you?” Leon replied, still struggling to catch his breath.
She nodded profusely. “Yep. Earth looked really bright this morning and I remembered what you told me about their forests and their dancing. So I missed you!”
Leon stood up straight again regaining some of his normal color. “Well guess what? I’ve got some good news”.
“Nooo.” She said grabbing his hand and swinging it. “Tell meeee.”
Leon laughed again. “Take one guess, if you don’t get it right I’ll tell ya.”
She took her hand to her shin and made a thinking face. “Hmmm.. could it be that you brought me a flower?”
“Well tell me then!”
Leon looked into her eyes and spent a moment in silence preparing himself for the news he had to deliver. Her smiling face gradually became a worried one as he took both of her hands into his.
“Rita… You know everything I do, I do for you right?”
“What’s the matter?” She asked almost whispering.
“Well… I got a job…”
“Oh cool! Where?”
Leon stood silent for another moment, admiring what to him was the perfect definition of beauty.
“It’s on Earth Rita… I’m going to Earth…”
Rita’s eyes grew open. “…to Earth?” She whispered. Her eyes began to fill up with tears and the blue sphere hanging above them was reflected in them. “Well… that’s good right?”.
“I’ll come back for you Rita. I’ll just save up some money. You know Earth jobs pay better, I’ll save money and I’ll come back for you. Then you won’t have to work the streets no more.”
Rita’s eyes began to spill small drops of the tears her eyes were straining to produce. She looked away towards the glowing lights of the city not wanting Leon to watch her cry.
“Don’t cry Rita. You know I’ll be back, you’re my special girl!”
“When are you leaving?”
“…well.. I have to go in like… two minutes, they’re waiting for me.”
Rita lost control of her eyes and streams of tears ran down her face. “You said you wouldn’t leave me! Please…”
“Rita, you have to understand it’s for the best. You know it’s for the best don’t you? We can’t keep living like this, on the streets? In dark alleys? I don’t want you to be angry, I’m doing this for us. You get it right?”
Rita nodded as as she looked him in the eyes. Eyes that were now producing tears of their own.
“I’ll be gone for a month or two and I’ll come back for you, I’ll send you letters okay?”
Rita nodded again.
“I have to go now Rita” He leaned close to her and kissed her forehead. “I’ll be looking up at you from over there.” He said pointing to sky.
Rita let go of his hands and hugged him hard. “Don’t forget me.”
Leon held on to her for a long moment of peace. He let go of her and began to walk away. “I won’t. Goodbye Rita. We’ll see each other soon”.
“Take care…” She said. “…comb your hair.”
Leon sat next to Rita in silence at the top of the Great Lunar Hotel on the moon city of Zenitar. He watched Earth across the man made sky and his feet dangled from the rooftop, two hundred stories above the busy streets of the night. His hand rested on top of hers and his ears listened to the wind that passed around them, to the distant cars of the city, to the unspoken words in his mind.
He had gone to Earth in search of a better future and he had told Rita to wait for him. She did her part, he did not.
“It looks so pretty from here,” said Rita, “It looks so perfect.”
She could not imagine a more different place. All she had ever known was Zenitar, the grey city of the grey moon. Grey streets and grey buildings. People wearing grey, people being grey.
“Just look at all the blue.”
She took Leon’s hand into hers and turned to him. A tear had dropped from his eye.
“I’m sorry.” It was all he could muster. He wanted to tell her so much more, but if he spoke more words his voice would break, and she would know how bad it was. It would break the spell, it would take from her the only hope she had, the only dream.
“It’s ok. I just wanted to be with you. I wanted to go up there and walk in the green forests and dance with you. I wanted swim in the blue water with you.”
She knew Leon was not telling her something, but she didn’t want to press him. He would tell her when he was ready. It’s true that she wanted nothing more than to leave the smelly streets of the moon for good, it’s true that life was difficult, it’s true they had to steal and that a new future on Earth seemed the only way to escape the monotony, the harshness, the grey… but not without Leon, without him nothing mattered.
“I’ll go back next month.” He said, dreading the consequences of all four words. He had been gone for two months, he had been beaten up, he had been made to work for crooks in the most disgusting of places, he had been made to kill, but above all, he had missed Rita more than he could take. Every night he would look up at the sky and watch the moon cross the sky. He would wave at her, he would blow her a kiss and he would say goodnight. And now, if only by chance, he was back. A fugitive of dark men, an escapee from that haunted blue world, a cracked version of his past self.
“No. Don’t go.” Said Rita and smiled at him. “I wouldn’t trade you for the world.”
Leon smiled too, he leaned to her side and kissed her forehead, and no other words were spoken that night.