I wake up. At once the day offers me the brilliance of a stampede. The way that light might shine across sturdy velvet legs of wild horses.
Looking down I see my kitten bathe in the small patch of dawn resting on my bedroom floor. Her eyes sparkle like emeralds, like the promise of gems. And sitting there saturated in heat she seems so fulfilled that, for a moment, I find myself wishing I were a feline. The memory of a book from my childhood walks through the front of my mind. It goes something like this:
“What are you doing?” says the little boy to his friend who is sitting on the branch of a tree.
“Nothing?” the boy asks. “How do you do Nothing?”
“Well, you just sit around and think about how you aren’t doing anything.”
“Can I do Nothing with you?”
And the boys spend their day doing Nothing together.
I have no one to do “Nothing” with. Except for surrounding solids and liquids, my day is empty. It is void of plans. It is free to be carried from me, to be wrapped up and given to another young girl. To ride the back of the wind or perhaps be thrown over the shoulder of a mountain, over its cool peaks. My day might hitchhike across the country with no destination. It might end mangled in a ditch as darkness takes over and the promise of never being found sets in. Or perhaps it will be greeted by the television. In which case anything becomes possible, just only in 2D.
As my thumb considers hitting the ON button, a knocking shouts through the room. Wondering who it could be, I approach the door with an anxiety slightly lingering in my stomach. It wants to come out and a faint vomit taste stains the inside of my mouth.
I open it a crack. Light begins to pour in, and I wish it wouldn't stroke my arm that way. As the door swings fully open, I feel as though I am being winded by the glow. I stumble backwards, a little unnerved, a little frightened. But it comes closer, and the shining whispers in my ear, my eyes and across the nerves of my chest. If I were brave enough to look down I would see my fingertips bead sweat. I am the lightness of narcotics, and this fear is a fucking great high. I feel my head floating upward, like a balloon, like I am a cadaver and pieces of me are being removed for examination.
There is no human standing on my doormat, but there is light, there is so much intrusive light. I reach hard for it, but the elation settling in my mind is keeping logic beyond me. This sense of touch should belong to a blind man. I can feel my nerves as delicate as the clitoris and heat won't stop licking me. As the light holds me, I can't remember ever feeling this okay with something I know is wrong. With his strong caress he leaves highlights to dance across my skin and seep through the creases mainly in my lips.
And I try to grab him back, not knowing that I can't, that I'd slip right through.
He runs a fingertip down my ribs that makes music so deafening the trees lose their sense of sound. And the shadows pretend they don't know what’s happening, but I wish they would tell me everything is going to be okay. As the light grows bigger and deeper and wider I feel like I want this. I feel I’m wanted. I feel.
I let the Sun in even though I knew he was a stranger. He exposed me to something I've never experienced. And I understood that when it was over I would tell no one of this.
When I caught my breath and a tingling returned to my fingertips, we left my home together. And as we walked down the street the ground behind us was in a shallow flood. I think snow melts with the intention of puddles, wet and stirring and painting unbelievably realistic portraits of passers by.
"Have you ever considered submitting one of your pieces to the national portrait gallery?" I asked the puddle that currently painted my face. I took its lack of a response as modesty.
I lifted my hand reluctantly from its liquid carcass as the droplets dripped from my fingers to the ground.
"Can you get out of the way!"
Looking around I noticed where I was—a narrow boardwalk with hot and angry civilians held up behind me.
"Sorry," I whispered and continued forward paying no notice to the irritated rush of sweaty people with places to go.
The day was blistering. Heat waves slithered across selected surfaces, like fences.
Luckily the wind made sure to visit, cooling the earth off and causing chaos as she blew garbage cans down streets, mixing one person’s possessions with another and cracking a loud laugh that sounded like a whip every time she did it. I thought she was hilarious. The three of us walked along the coast together, her, the Sun and I.
The water felt him all over it and responded to his blaze with a greeting of diamonds racing across its surface. And I whispered stories to its growing waves so that they would be lost forever.
With a rush of sentiment that felt everlasting but probably wasn’t, I knew I was safe. I felt something teetering on smiles and tears. A feeling that confused the muscles in my face as they tried to pull in different directions.
I was cooking in his heat. His rays smudged my skin with sandy tones. And his body felt existent even though it wasn't. I knew I felt something even though nothing touched me. I heard things even though I was alone.
I made up his face in my mind. It would be soft and kissed with freckles from the seemingly endless days of summer. He would have hair that lightened with each rise. And lines would spiral from his eyes and fall with—
"Did I give you my name?" he asked, placing heat on my shoulder. I never expected the Sun to have a name.
He unfolded a piece of paper and handed it to me.
This made me smile. The sun's name is Curtis. I looked up at him and was reminded that we could never touch palms. We’d burn. He and the rain would be a far better match and sometimes, when my heart starts talking to me, I smother it with a pillow because I don't want to hear it cry.
We spent the day in brightness. In a hush that felt as real as a memory.
I followed him from east to west across his cycle, over town and past the beach and he kissed the sand with warmth that wrapped around my toes. And without realizing how I got there I found myself somewhere unfamiliar, surrounded by grass-covered slopes that quietly watched over the insignificant happenings of the city’s lives. He placed his arm around me, while through my mind floated enticing recollections of sleep that I tried to ignore.
I felt the sensation that any responsibilities could be stomped out like cigarettes. Could be tread on by feet that refused to give their flicker a second glance. I would give anything not to let go of the calm that streamed through my body. Upon looking up I noticed him getting dimmer and slowly hovering farther away.
A tear fell across the apple of my cheek that, this time, felt like acid rain, like abandonment. Felt like looking for my mother in a shopping mall and never being found. There was an unwanted sense of closure that hung around as the shadows returned.
“Its darkness ‘turn.’” I heard something say. My surroundings were being taken by twilight and I remembered what alone meant. Above were colours’ last efforts of pinks and purples. A chill began to fall from the sky down, touching my toes and all the tips of my body and with one strong breath I screamed to the Sun, "But what do we do from here?" just before he sank into the silent hills.