Sunburn and a Short Story

Hello! I hope y’all are having a great Monday. I’m currently on vacation (yes you should be jealous)…and already sunburned (yes you can laugh at me). Image

yep this is my view. No lie, it’s pretty awesome. 

So all this time has gotten me a moment to finish a story!

Warning: more mythology, angst, and references to eating children (Greek mythology, not my twisted head ok?). So… PG-13 ish. 

Watching Heaven and Earth

“Atlas…one who knows the depths of the whole sea, and keeps the tall pillars who hold heaven and earth asunder”. – Homer

My legs are weary of the water. It’s no longer cold, but constantly rushes around my legs, rising and sinking around my thighs. My toes have been frozen, long forgotten in dark depths that stretch back longer than memory. Occasionally I shift them, and feel the miles of sand tumble around them. I must move gently, my brothers and sisters lie somewhere in these depths. How cruel, the fates could be, letting my weary feet destroy my own family in the darkness.

My shoulders are tired, although the weight of the sky no longer bothers me. I don’t understand where humans thought I held up the earth. My mother is stronger than any of the other gods. She never needed cradling hands. My hands hold up the heavens. I was to separate embittered lovers, Gaia and Uranus. I was the guard between my own mother and father.

The millennia pass me yet memory stays sharp and clear. Mother once stared up at father each night, and day. Do you remember when he laid with you? Or do you recall the cries of your children, his children, yearning for freedom? Hidden deep in your depths, you could feel them but not touch them. Though once they screamed, only silence comes from the depths. Is that a relief? Or does worry grow like a pernicious weed?

Our conversations spanned decades but you never answered these questions. Now, even you mother, have gone silent.  Do you sleep now, or merely avoid the sky and memories?

The sky is light upon my hands. Uranus’s persistent desire left long ago. Father, why did you never ask for forgiveness? You once stared on at mother’s fertile beauty day after day, night after shining night. Yet you couldn’t see how your pit tore her apart. How could you not feel her helplessness or taste her rising rage? It rose slowly and surely, until only destruction was her choice.

Even still you begged forgiveness for centuries. My arms still ache from when you strained to reach her. Your every atom pressed against me, dying to caress her. Standing guard, you forced me to listen to your songs. Each painted a picture of time long gone: the moment you first saw her; the ways she sighed your name. Had she asked me to simply lie down, perhaps I would have. You sang of love, but she whispered of your venom and selfishness. So I stood, guarding the space between longing and rancor.

If I could have left you both, I would have. I would have long ago. Yet even the strongest gods lose hope. You are so light upon my arms now. Bits and pieces of you left, until one day I realized I forgot the feeling of pressure above me. As you gave up on her, you gave up on us and on our history. Now only thin air remains.

Where have you gone? Do you travel to other, newer lands? You search for lands where time has only begun and stories remain unwritten. There you may be kinder, and keep your eyes wide open. You can rewrite history and say all the apologies too hard to make to Gaia. There you find a second chance. May you find what you seek father, but do not forget.  

King of the heavens, ruler of air and flight, you traverse the universe. You may leave your errors behind. We, mere titans and gods, can reach up into the skies, but must always be rooted to our mother. We see our errors play out. . 

I don’t wish to be young again. We were foolish then. The world was ours and the days full. We controlled the seas and sky. Our mother, ever generous, never left us wanting. The fruit was sweet, the water crisp and cool. We had everything, only the stars lay beyond our reach. With Uranus, newly defeated, nothing could hurt us.

Thus, we believed we would live forever, rule until time itself gave out. We only debated where we would next take our court and celebrate. Eden, those Christians would call it. Perhaps it was. I call it my childhood.

The fates are capricious ladies. They always had the sharpest and most bitter humors. I blame sharing one eye between three. Yet still they had such sight. We were more than our mother’s children, we were our father’s as well.

And so, when all could be lost, we clung even tighter, ensuring our own downfall. Young and strong, we laughed at the one eyed crones. Our own children would not destroy us! Though Cronus laughed loudest, I saw the fear take root inside him. His eyes glittered hard and cold as the distant stars. With their prophesy, our fate was sealed.

Though he swallowed all of his children, Zeus came back full of lightening’s vengeance. For the first time we felt our knees bend, our faces flat against our mother. We learned the feeling of rage’s fire choking in our lungs, burning our insides while our mouths stayed firmly shut.

The last time I saw my brothers and sisters, I watched them tossed into the pit. Rhea’s hair fanned around her as she disappeared. Cronus’s bellows echoed. Yet the sound was so faint and small when it reached the surface.

I was ready to fall into the darkness, but Zeus held me back. My burden wasn’t to lie in the dark, but hold up the skies. I was to be the sign of his victory. He made me watch his rule. But time is gentle to no gods: Aphrodite’s beauty crumbled to dust; Ares back broke into pieces. Yet somehow, I remain. Why? Who am I witness to now?

I fear I will exist as long as time does. The fates cackle haunts me. Only they know my end (or have they too perished with time?). I thank the three crones for leaving me ignorant of my fate. Whatever choice I make has already been decided. Yet this moment is mine.

My arms descend, slowly, painfully. Though I hold my breath, the heavens stay above. Slowly, I begin to walk, rising from the ocean depths. Green warm land lies in front of me. Mother, I will lie in your embrace at last. Eons of fatigue consume me. As I close my eyes, I see only darkness. Wherever I go next, may it be with my brothers and sisters. May my questions meet more than silence. 


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