Charlie and Sam were the best of friends.
Charlie loved science and was always telling Sam about new and fun facts.
One day Charlie ran into the room where Sam was reading a book. Charlie said, “We have to watch the moon tonight!”
Sam had seen the moon before. It was a big grey ball that floated up in the sky at night. “Why do we have to watch the moon tonight?” asked Sam.
“Because,” said Charlie, “tonight there is going to be an eclipse!”
“What’s an eclipse?” asked Sam.
“The moon will get covered by a shadow and change colour and then the shadow will go away and the moon will be bright again! It’s going to be fascinating!” said Charlie.
“Wow!” said Sam.
They spent all day getting ready.
By the time it was night and the sky was dark, Charlie and Sam were all set for the eclipse. They had blankets and pillows set out on the balcony. They had popcorn and apples with cinnamon, crackers with peanut butter, cheese and raisins on sticks of celery, chocolate chip muffins and big glasses of milk.
They were ready to watch the moon.
But when they looked at the night sky, the moon was not there.
“Where’s the moon?” asked Sam.
“It should be right over there.” said Charlie.
“Where did it go?” asked Sam.
“It must be somewhere.” said Charlie.
From every spot where they stood on the balcony, Charlie and Sam could not see the moon in any part of the night sky.
They went outside. They looked around but still couldn’t see the moon. “Maybe it’s behind one of those tall buildings,” said Charlie.
“Maybe we can’t see it because there’s a big tree in the way,” said Sam.
But no matter where they stood, no matter where they looked, the moon was nowhere to be found.
“This is very strange,” said Charlie.
“Where could it be?” asked Sam. They decided to search.
They looked up and down the block, and around the corner and through the alley. They poked around in the gutter and peeked through the neighbourhood garden. They looked behind the rubbish bins and mail boxes. They looked behind telephone poles and fire hydrants. They wanted to climb trees but the squirrels and the birds would call out, “The moon is not here, now please let us sleep!”
Charlie and Sam were starting to think they would never see the moon tonight, or its magical, fascinating eclipse.
They walked back to their building, sad. But then they looked up and saw a strange, grey light coming from the windows of their home.
“Our lamps don’t look like that,” said Charlie.
They rushed back inside and found the Moon sitting in the corner of their living room. It looked sad and afraid. Charlie said, “Hello, Moon.”
The Moon said, “Hi.”
Sam said, “What’s wrong, Moon? Why aren’t you hanging way up in the sky?”
“Yes,” Charlie said, “there’s going to be an eclipse tonight and we wanted to watch.”
“That’s the problem,” said the Moon. “Everyone will be watching the eclipse tonight. I get awful shy when people are watching. Why do you think I only show half of myself sometimes, and sometimes I hide my whole self? It’s like when you close the door to your room because you want to be alone for a little while.”
Charlie and Sam felt sad for the Moon. It was easy for Sam to hide under a blanket. It was easy for Charlie to hide in the closet. It was easy to be alone when they wanted. But imagine how hard it was to hide, when you floated way up in the sky for everyone to see.
They decided to cheer up that sad old Moon.
“You know what you need?” asked Charlie. “Some popcorn and chocolate chip muffins!”
Charlie and Sam let the Moon have some of their yummy snacks. “Oh my!” said the Moon. “I’ve never tasted anything so good!”
They played a game of Tag, taking turns chasing each other around the room. The Moon was soon out of breath but was smiling and laughing. “What fun!” he exclaimed. “What else can we play?”
They set up dominoes and watched them fall. They spun tops. They built a tower with building blocks.
Sam read a short story from his book. Then they put on some music and danced around. The Moon seemed very happy.
“This is wonderful,” the Moon said. “This reminds me of dancing with the sun and the stars and the planets. The way I spin around in circles and dance around the planet Earth. The way the planet Earth spins around in circles and dances around the Sun. They way all three of us spin around in circles and dance around the Universe. And then there are all the other planets with their own moons dancing around them, we pass each other in the sky and wave to each other. And then there are all the stars out there, dancing and twinkling. It’s oh so much fun.”
“We know,” said Charlie. “We love watching you and the planets and the stars and the sun dance across the sky and around each other. We use telescopes to see you better. We lay outside all night long to watch you dance around. We take pictures of you all and write books about the ways that you move across the sky.”
“Not just that,” said Sam. “We make up songs and poems and stories about you and your friends, the stars and planets. We give the stars names and we tell legends about them like they were people like us. I think it’s because people love the stars and the planets and the moons so much. We wish that we could dance across the sky like you.”
“Gosh,” the Moon said. “I never knew people wrote songs about us. About me…”
Suddenly, the Moon headed for the door.
“Where are you going, Moon?” asked Charlie.
The Moon said, “I have to get back up in the sky. There’s going to be an eclipse tonight, and there are a lot of people who expect to see an exciting, fascinating, wonderful show!”
“But I thought you were too shy?” Sam asked.
“I am a bit shy,” the Moon said. “But now that I know that nice people like you two are watching… Now that I know that they are looking up at us with love… Now that I know that they are writing songs about us and taking pictures of us and eating chocolate chip muffins and popcorn while they do it… Well, it doesn’t seem that scary at all.”
With that, the Moon opened the door and left.
Charlie and Sam rushed to the balcony. They watched the Moon rise up into the night sky, glowing brightly. They waved to the Moon, and the Moon waved back.
Then, Charlie and Sam snuggled into their blankets, and watched the eclipse.