The Green Side of the Moon

By Audrey Park
April 27, 2024

When Millie hit puberty, strange things started happening to her body.

The dry skin around her ankles and elbows started flaking. It was itchy and irritating. Every time she tried to scratch herself, she shed wafer-thin strips of skin all over the floor. Whenever she sneezed, she became a confetti-cannon.

Millie tried applying extra-moisturizing lotion and body oils on the affected area, but the flaking didn’t stop. It moved to her torso. Her neck. Her face. No ointment or moisturizer could alleviate her condition, and soon her entire body looked like peeling wallpaper.

Millie had to sit on a paper napkin all day to collect the shedded skin. She wept bitterly as she imagined all the mocking nicknames her schoolmates would call her once they saw her state.

Creepy Myrtle. Bonito-head. Millie-feuille.

They always thought she was too strange to fit in. She bought all the games and dolls and gadgets that everyone else liked, but she was always told she played wrong. She wore bright, pretty dresses and shiny-buckled shoes, but she was always told she didn’t look right. She practiced her smile in the mirror, she practiced her talk with stuffed animals. No matter what she did, there was something about Millie that made everyone uneasy.

She didn’t let anyone in her room. It was lonely, but Millie was okay with being a bit lonely. There were silver-winged bugs that gathered on her mesh window screen, whistling grass blades and crooning verses to keep her company.

Silly Millie, won’t you come outside?
Growing up is the things you can’t hide
Silly Millie, we know that you’re strange
Beauty is the things you can’t change

The flaking got worse and worse. Like molding bread, strange, green spots mottled her skin. But they weren’t growing on the outside. Rather, her outer skin revealed something underneath – a green, oozing, shimmering, croaking, undulating flesh.

On the window, the silver-winged bugs had gathered so densely that not a crack of light could get in. Clicking, sucking, humming, and whistling.

“Oh, what am I supposed to do?” Millie croaked to the silver-winged bugs. “Other girls fret about pimples and bad hair. I bet none of them have to worry about turning green!”

The bugs flew in synchrony, partitioning like a glittery bead curtain, letting light into the dusty bedroom. Millie saw the moon. Millie saw Mars. Millie saw far, far beyond that. The silver-winged bugs and silver-pointed stars pooled in her eyes that were large and brilliant like clear jade.

Light cuts through air like a flashing glaive
The moon pulls on the ocean waves
If your skin and nails never fit quite right
The moon pulls on you, hopeful and bright

Millie closed her eyes and listened. The moon beckoned her in strange languages. Clicking, sucking, humming, whistling. Ringing, thumping, twinkling, croaking. Run to me, run to me.

She slowly stood up, half-bent so her back brushed against the popcorn ceiling. Her spindly, green leg went through the window first, reaching the ground from the second floor. She felt crabgrass poking between her seven toes. She felt the gritty brick siding of the suburban house on her palms.

Millie was free in the buzzing summer night, a breath of fresh air. She laughed a laugh that sounded like tangerines and tasted like computer static. She was closer to the sky than she had ever been. With an outstretched hand, she touched the zenith – dark, cool miasma that congealed at her fingertips.

Who are you? Who do you want to be?

“I want to be with everything beautiful in the world,” she responded.

Repeat your name. Don’t you forget it.

Millie, Millie, Milliliter
Millie, Millie, Millimeter
Millie, Millie, Milliseconds
Home is far away

The silver-winged bugs beeped and honked at each other, hurriedly fluttering in loopy paths and forming a long chain heading west. The queue disappeared into the horizon, into the place where everything beautiful in the world lived. In one step, Millie had crossed the entire neighborhood, rows and rows of roof-shingle mounds. In another step, she felt the churning ocean splashing at her knees.

Clicking, sucking, humming, whistling. Ringing, thumping, twinkling, croaking. Splashing, buzzing, popping, barking. This was the song of the green-moon and the black-ocean.

One by one, the silver-winged bugs dived into the night ocean, drowning in the powerful waves. In every spot a silver light went out, a half-bloomed lotus flower appeared in its place.

Then every two lotus flowers formed the feet of golden-faced ballerinos. They spun on one foot as fast as lightning, over and over until all of their pink petals detached and fell into the ocean.

And in every spot a petal sank, a vibrant, scaled seal surfaced. They chattered playfully and blew bubbles from their snouts. The bubbles clung to the slick surface of the ocean then rose into the bitter wind.

And from every spot a bubble popped, the particles that had formed the bubble became countless radiant photons of rainbow light. They spiraled upwards past Millie’s head like warm vapors separating from the cold.

Come home, Millie. Come home.
You’re too big for this world.

Millie raised her arms into a point, as if she was about to swan-dive. Her pyramid arms filled the cone of light that reached the troposphere. She penetrated the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere. Her feet dangled above the crashing waves.

The ocean-moon song melted into the light. The light turned bright and blinding. Somehow, Millie wasn’t afraid. Somehow, she knew this was right.

Then, she was gone. 

Layout: Ava Jiang
Creative Director: Emily Martinez
Photographer: Reyna Dews
Stylist: Emily Martinez
HMUA: River Perrill & Miu Nakata
Nail Artist: Miu Nakata
Models: Miu Nakata, Vani Shah & Jordyn Jackson

Other Stories in RAW

© 2024 SPARK. All Rights Reserved.