Soren Moon had started to forget who he was when he turned eighteen.
The spaces between time seemed to grow shorter and the nights spent staring at the wood paneling of the attic where he lived, longer. He knew, of course, that he enjoyed reading Neruda and Bukowski and that sometimes he still ran through the woods with his younger siblings and played games where they had grown up together.
But on some nights he would forget that he was a boy, and he would wander into the woods for days at a time, losing himself to the sky and the trees, which called him from long distances, asking him to join them.
Of course, the crooked house at the bottom of the hill always beckoned Soren back, with its warm lights and assortment of scattered toys in the yard. It had moons carved into the white shutters, and his father had cut a cat door with a flap into the side of the roof so that his children, all owls, could fly in and out whenever they pleased, the sound of hooting and skittering claws disrupting the night.
Here was a secret.
One day, Soren Moon feared that his house would become too quiet, like the house up the hill, which had been abandoned by the last set of neighbours and sat looming over the Moon house like a creepy ghost. The Moons would all fly away one day. They would have children of their own and dreams to follow. He knew he would, it was the way of the world.
"Read me some poetry, Renny." The boy beside him sighs, and Soren passes him a joint, fog drifting up between them as they lay on Soren's sun and moon quilt in the middle of his bed. "I like the way your voice sounds when you're melancholic and high as fuck."
Soren breathes out a cloud of smoke and closes his eyes, conjuring up the words in his mind before he speaks. "There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out, but I'm too tough for him," he whispers. "I say, stay in there, I'm not going to let anybody see you. There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out, but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke."
He stops at that, then he and Rocky share a laugh.
"Ah, that's the ticket," Rocky sighs after a moment, and he turns to look at Soren, his hand tucked under one of his flattened pillows. Among the many things that Soren loved about Rocky were his beautiful gold-colored eyes and waves of tousled red hair. Poets would call it flames lapping at the edge of the shore in the dead of night.
Rocky wasn't related to the Moons in any way possible; he'd come to them when he was a child. But he and Soren had always been close, ever since day one, when Rocky stepped into their kitchen with his too-small clothes and dirty face.
"Do you ever wonder where we'll be in ten years?" Soren asks him, and he rolls over to face Rocky so that they're both staring into one another's eyes.
"Oh, honey! I'm almost one hundred percent sure that both of us are going to be standing in a gay bar begging someone to marry us before we die!" Rocky replies, and then he laughs the familiar, wild laugh that Soren had come to know.
"Seriously?" Soren rolls his eyes, "In ten years, a gay bar is the last place I want to be found."
Rocky passes him the joint, and Soren takes it, their fingers brushing, but Rocky doesn't pull away.
"Let's go flying!" The other boy tells him excitedly, "I've always wanted to know if owls can get high."
Soren doesn't know what comes over him. Maybe it was magic or the weed, but he leans over and kisses Rocky.
This is how it all began.