It is when she feels so frequently covered by the restricting layers of her modern society that she is drawn back in time. She feels a rush of serenity as her mother’s gentle hands return from their grave in the earth to softly weave a comb through the girl’s long, dark locks. She can taste the unforgettable intensity of double-fudge hot chocolate on the tip of her tongue and smell the familiar odor of burning logs. She looks down, her legs having shrunk and covered once again in her polka dot pajamas; she once again owns the innocence of untouched, golden eyes.
She takes in her mother’s missed face: the soft curve of her jaw line, her deeply set, wise chocolate eyes, the mark above her finely shaped lips. When the girl speaks, her voice is untouched by the cruel influence of the world she will later come to know. “Will you tell the moon and sun story?”
A chuckle escapes her mother’s lips, her hand shaking slightly while tediously combing through the dark hair. “Haven’t you grown tired of that story yet?” The question is rhetorical; she needs no reply as she sets down the brush on her daughter’s pale pink nightstand and sets the child’s fragile body in her warm lap. Her fingers, spread out before lustful, child eyes, begin the story before her voice.
She speaks; velvet. “The moon and the sun existed long before toes touched terrain, or the first apple seed grew out of itself. The two bodies lived in sole existence, with nothing but empty planets surrounding them. So you see, they were destined for each other from the start – to need each other, to see the beauty in everything the other was.
“The moon and the sun especially needed one another to perform their two-man light shows. It is said that these light shows were more beautiful than any sight our human eyes will ever see, a wondrous motion of the colors that inhabit the universe, spurred by the passion of each body, turned into inexplicable art.”
The girl has heard these exact lines countless times, yet her young eyes are glued to her mother as she speaks – to her hands, and to the words that flow from her lips. Her almond eyes grow in size as she imagines the light show before her mother and her, something just for them. She thinks to herself, “Either my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world, or she is the only woman in the world.”
“You must understand: the stars were created for this show, for the love that the moon and the sun shared, and for all the beauty in their universe.” And then her mother’s eyes shift downward, her hands droop, and her excited body begins to relax. There is a sudden sadness to her silky voice, and the girl feels water well up in the corners of her eyes because she knows what will happen next.
“But out of envy, one planet could not allow the spectacle to continue. You see, the earth wasn’t always so bad; she just wasn’t loved. Instead she was cursed with the disease of mankind, taken to fits of pure evil and contempt for all that was beautiful in the universe. Nobody, not the sun or the moon or their stars, could imagine the sort of pain that the earth endured. Her suffering was that of hearing about the blessings of the world and of the beauty it contained, without ever experiencing that beauty for herself. This is why the earth felt she needed to destroy the most beautiful thing she knew of.
“With the aid of her contemptuous people, the earth used all of her power to forbid the moon and the sun from being together. Granted, they were still necessary for the function of her own planet, but never again would they be able to conduct their magnificent light shows. When the moon was out, the sun was hidden, and neither could ever see the presence of the other.
“But the earth was not entirely destitute of feeling: she still wanted to believe in something, even if she didn’t want to have it exist and to cause her pain. So she left the two lovers with one thing: they only saw each other once a day, for only a moment, and only in passing. This is how it would be for the rest of eternity.”
There is silence, and then the girl opens her tiny mouth to ask a question she never has before. She feels the urgent desire for a different ending to this story, this everlasting sadness of a tale. She asks, in the most innocent sound the world could ever hear, “Do the moon and the sun still love each other?”
Her mother looks to her child’s face, taking in the sweetness of her tiny nose and the clear purity of her eyes, and she can’t help but smile at the corners of her mouth. “I’m glad you asked, darling.
“The moon and the sun may exist still in a forbidden love, but it is love nonetheless. It is a passionate, never-ending love strengthened by ongoing desire. They may not see each other but only for a single second a day, but they know that as long as they are pulled away with every new day, the other must still exist in the universe. That’s called selfless love.”
The girl seems to understand, and the empty, nervous pit in her small stomach starts to fade. “And will the earth ever let them be together again?”
Her mother nods slowly, her eyes now set on something far off in the distance, something that makes her dark eyes glow just slightly. “Not yet; but everyday she is learning to accept the beauty of love even if she can’t have it for herself.”
“Then she will also be selfless, right?”
“Yes,” her mother says, her eyes locking with her daughter’s. “She will.”