Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Sun and the Moon

Everyone knows that the moon has no light of its own. It is a parasite, using the sun’s energy to fabricate its own ethereal glow, marking it as the ruler of the night sky, flanked by scores of silver stars that glimmer around it like a heavenly army.

In truth, the moon is as lonely as the companionless sun, as far away from her twinkling army as the sun is from the life it feeds and nurtures. They are both strangers in a world where they are admired and feared, worshipped and disregarded, unable to communicate with the people that love and loathe them—unable to make their true existence known to anyone but themselves.

That is way, many years ago, the sun decided to travel across the ice-blue sky, to creep towards the silver orb and make himself known to it. When he saw the moon, she sat motionless on the grey swathes of rock that make up her home, curled on the ground with her knees to her chest, drowned by despair.

“You are a funny little creature,” he mused, tilting his head to the side and pursing his lips. “I wonder what your name is.”

At that she lifted her head, narrowed her tear-streaked eyes and burned him with the silver fire that shone in them.

“You might ask me,” she said, and her haughty tone pushed him back a step. Could it be that she heard him, when every other plant and animal and star was oblivious to his existence?

Since she did not seem to be confused by the fact that they were interacting, he decided that it would cost him a significant amount of pride to play the fool and ask how she was able to see him. Instead, he sank into a crouch and kicked his legs out from underneath him, sprawling out of the uncomfortably cold rock.

“What is your name, you funny little creature?” he asked, this time directing the question at her, just as she had asked. Her shoulders bobbed up and down, and she lowered her eyes.

“I have sometimes heard them—the earthly ones—refer to me as the moon,” she confessed in a whisper, and a wide smile spread across his face. So this was the moon the earthlings tended to pair him with. The sun and the moon, they would say, and the identity of this moon creature had always perplexed him. Now he realized that the word referred to the girl sitting in front of him, with her inky hair and silver-fire eyes, her milk-pale skin such a contrast to his own which was darker and unmarred by the thin blue veins that celestial creatures such as them had no use for.

“I am the sun,” he told her as he turned onto his knees and crept towards her. “Why are you so sad?”

She stood firm as he approached, never moving so much as a silver hair. “It is because I am all alone,” she told him after an eternity. “I do not remember much of my flesh life, only that we lived in darkness. Then a light shone on us, and as soon as it touched my warm skin, it cooled me and snatched me away, up to the sky, and away from the people I had known and loved. Though I do not remember their names and faces, I know enough of humanity to know that I am alone. It hurts.”

Although he had never considered himself to be alone in the world—just look at the plants, animals and stars that were his silent, unconscious audience!—he realized that he was as sorely lacking as she was in the area of intelligent company. It annoyed him. He had never been lacking in anything before, and the sensation was not a pleasant one.

“You are not alone any more,” he told her, very matter-of-factly. “I am here. We are two instead of just one.” When she made no reply, he crept ever closer to her, and his fingers reached out towards her hand. “I am the sun, and I will be your friend.”

When his fingers touched hers, she gave a small cry, and moved away from him.

“No! Do not come closer to me! It is my nature to steal your light for my own, to send you to sleep before you can return to light the skies again. Even now I see your light fading, and I fear that the closer you venture, the weaker you will become. I am the moon, and I am a thief.”

“To sleep!” he scoffed. “To sleep! Do you doubt me so much that you believe that drawing near you will send me to sleep forever? No! I will wake, and I will return with my glorious light. It is a small price to pay for having a friend, I think. I have not been lonely before and I will not be lonely now.”

So, with a stubborn insistence, he reached out to touch her face, and her own hand crept up to cover his. She smiled, and his own lips twitched in response, and there and then, she knew that there was a reason that the creation of the sun brought the moon into existence, for neither could live without the other; neither could live alone. They were the sun and the moon and they were destined to be friends—perhaps more. Only time would tell, and they had millennia ahead of them.

That is why the sun wakes in the east every morning to make his journey across the ice-blue sky to the moon. Her presence and her touch slowly drains his light, but for a few blissful hours they are together. While the sun sleeps the somber moon reigns the sky with her army of stars, pining for her lover and yearning for the arrival of a new sunset, when she will be alone no more.

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