Chapter 2: The Dark Side
December 25, 1968
(Tenth revolution around the Moon)
Christmas Day, 89:22:34. On the far side of the Moon and out of radio contact with Houston, Apollo 8’s Service Propulsion System (SPS) has been ignited to accelerate it out of lunar orbit.
At 89:34:16, radio contact has been re-established with the crew.
89:34:25. Astronaut Lovell: “Please be informed there is a Santa Claus.”
Far out Blue Moons.
Stoney and I don’t come down until after three – we crash for a few hours. Then, about seven, we go to Cecil’s Stand for cheeseburgers and fries.
Later we exchange presents – he gives me a jade ring and a petrified wood ashtray in psychedelic colors; I give him a blue rock. Both from The Crystal Ship. I’m not sure what he likes.
After we open our presents, we argue about his being too wild when we play. He wrestles too goddamned rough sometimes, today getting me into a hammerlock and flipping me on my back. Something snaps – my back hurts like hell.
“You jerk,” I say, “You could’ve broken my back.”
“Shut up, bitch, stop your squawking.”
We exchange more words. Don’t I have the right not to be injured?
We calm down.
“Let’s not wrestle anymore.”
Stoney has an unfair advantage.
“That’s cool,” he says.
I think he understands; he apologizes, anyway, promising not to be so rough. We’ll see.
The two of us look like hell. I feel like hell.
We go to bed early and make love, and rap about our acid trips.
Weird. I thought we had connected last night, but we didn’t, not really. We were on separate trips.
Stoney only remembers shooting heroin and balling.
For me, it was so much more.
“The Dark Side,” © copyright 2013 - present, by Jennifer Semple Siegel, may not be reprinted or reposted without the express permission of the author. Published in Memoir Madness: Driven to Involuntary Commitment