That night, at Boris’ — lying drunk on my half of the batik-draped mattress — I tried to remember what Pippa had looked like. But the moon was so large and clear through the uncurtained window that it made me think instead of a story my mother had told me, about driving to horse shows with her mother and father in the back seat of their old Buick when she was little. “It was a lot of travelling — ten hours sometimes through hard country. Ferris wheels, rodeo rings with sawdust, everything smelled like popcorn and horse manure. One night we were in San Antonio, and I was having a bit of a meltdown — wanting my own room, you know, my dog, my own bed — and Daddy lifted me up on the fairgrounds and told me to look at the moon. ‘When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.’ So after he died, and I had to go to Aunt Bess — I mean, even now, in the city, when I see a full moon, it’s like he’s telling me not to look back or feel sad about things, that home is wherever I am.” She kissed me on the nose. “Or where you are, puppy. The center of my earth is you.”
A rustle, next to me. “Potter?” said Boris. “You awake?”
“Can I ask you something?” I said. “What does the moon look like in Indonesia?”
“What are you on about?”
“Or, I don’t know, Russia? Is it just the same as here?”
He rapped me lightly on the side of the head with his knuckles — a gesture of his that I had come to know, meaning idiot. “Same everywhere,” he said, yawning, propping himself up on his scrawny braceleted wrist. “And why?”
“Dunno,” I said, and then, after a tense pause: “Do you hear that?”
A door had slammed. “What’s that?” I said, rolling to face him. We looked at each other, listening. Voices downstairs — laughter, people knocking around, a crash like something had been knocked over.
“Is that your dad?” I said, sitting up — and then I heard a woman’s voice, drunken and shrill.