The first time you brought me the moon, I demanded you put it right back where you got it.
“People need that, you know!” I said, scooting you out the door while you cradled the moon gingerly in your arms. I pointed up at the pitch-black night. “You see that?”
“See what?” you asked.
“Exactly!” I said. “Now put the moon back this instant, or else I’m going to tell everybody it’s your fault everything in the oceans died.”
“But how would…”
“Ocean churning. Circulation of nutrients. See? Did you even think this through?” I raised my eyebrows, pointed at you, and pointed at the spot in the sky where the moon used to be.
You sighed, lobbed the moon back into its rightful celestial spot, then turned and looked at me dejectedly.
“I thought it would be romantic, you know?”
“It is quite romantic, and I’m very thankful, but that doesn’t mean I want it in my backyard. It wouldn’t fit anyway; the moon is moon-sized and my backyard is just regular backyard-sized.” You nodded in agreement and I felt bad, because a nice gesture is a nice gesture, even if it’s proportionally absurd.
“I love you to the moon and back,” I said, but if you bring the moon to me, that distance changes quite a lot, and really screws with my metaphor.”
We hugged, I told you I loved you and that you didn’t have to bring me anything. We went back inside and hoped the moon wasn’t gone long enough to cause any serious deviations to Earth’s solar orbit.
A few days later, while sitting at the dining room table, I felt a tug, slight but persistent, upon my body. I stood up and followed it. There, behind our house, a white dwarf star burned and seethed and broiled and fused helium to carbon to oxygen and pulled steadily at me while I clung to the doorknob.
“This isn’t going to work either,” I yelled, but you were already standing right behind me.
“Why not? It’s so much smaller than the moon!” you whined.
“Yes but mass, darling. If this sits here much longer, it’ll swallow the Earth whole. May even take the entire solar system with it, hard to say without doing some calculations. Will you return it? If not for humanity, then for me?”
“Can I at least tell you the allegory I worked out? It’s burning, like my love for you!” You held your arms out wide and smiled, but then quickly clasped on to my arm as the star began to pull you toward it. I wanted to extend your logic by mentioning carbon detonation, supernovae, and the collapse of entire planetary systems that were statistically likely to harbor at least one intelligent life-form. But love and entropy are opposing forces, and I only wanted to think about one of them right now.
So I kissed you instead. “It’s wonderful, and so are you.”
I felt my body go limp and my toes once again touch the ground as you hurtled the white dwarf up and out. Trees and boulders and a fair few houses trailed in its gravitational wake.
One night the following week, I found Paris on our front doorstep, and you beaming at me from behind it.
“Well I suppose this is a significant improvement,” I said, gesturing toward the spidery tendrils of streets and boulevards, alleys and thoroughfares, roundabouts and promenades that splayed outward from the Arc de Triomphe at the center. Cars honked, people yelled, “Que se passe-t-il?”, “Le monde se termine!” and “Où est ton Dieu maintenant?” while they cowered behind their cars, beneath shop awnings, or in each other’s arms.
“Surprise! Do you like it?!” you asked as you wrapped your arms around my waist. I lay my cheek on your shoulder.
“I do like Paris, yes, but I liked Paris more when it was in France,” I murmured into your neck. “I can’t keep a city on my front doorstep; the geometry of this just isn’t going to work out.”
“But it looks so lovely! And wait, watch this!” You clicked off the porch light, and soon the lights of the city below us began to twinkle on, blinking and firing like neural synapses communicating information across a vast brain. You clicked the light on again, and the citizens of Paris began to wail in astonished despair.
“Nope, nope nope nope. You need to take it back. People are going to start getting very confused as to where Paris went all of a sudden, and I can’t imagine this won’t have long-term effects on the global economy.”
You sighed, again, you’re just full of sighs, and dragged Paris back from whence it came.
The second time you brought me the moon, I doubled over in laughter because you had painted “SORRY DOLPHINS” in large red letters on its face. I grabbed your hand and suggested we return the moon together this time, this moon puppy that keeps finding its way into our yard.
“I suppose you want me to wash these letters off? The world’s gonna wonder what in the hell the moon could have possibly done to all the dolphins.”
“Nah, leave it. Makes it feel like you still gave me the moon, in a weird way. Besides, a nice gesture is a nice gesture, even if it’s proportionally absurd.”