Write a myth to explain why the sun rises and sets
The night was about to end, for the long black tails of the dark were reaching its final stretches. Great giant wings and the slithering form of dark blue and burning stars that covered the sun, only to fly away once the great body of the night had ran out, only to reveal the sky at its peak once more. No sunrises and no sunsets, only the wings of the night pulled back to reveal a stark day just beneath the feathers.
Mornings were a stark and harsh thing. To awake in the morning was as if the curtains were being pulled back suddenly, flooding your eyesight with blinding white where blinding dark had been only a second ago. To which there was only one thing to do, pull the covers up over your head to block out the sudden assault to your eyes.
Mila groaned when the last threads of the night were pulled from the sky.
Daylight flooded her vision, turning the insides of her eyes a bright red. Sleepily, she rolled over on her bed, away from the window with the thin curtains, hoping to savor the last of the dark. She lay in bed for as long as she could before she had to get up. She dressed quickly, in light clothes that would not trap the heat, and pulled her braided hair back.
Stepping out into the light of the day, she groaned once more and put a hand up to shield her face from the harsh rays of the bright sunlight.
Mila did not love the day; she loved the night. The night was quiet and calm and peaceful; the stars and every-changing moon were a thousand times more beautiful than the blinding sun could ever hope to be; the night was filled with a certain sense of magic and wonder that the day always stole. Small parts of that magic were hidden in the shadows, where the dark still lingered, and Mila always felt herself drawn to those shadows.
The shade of the trees called to her, the shadows of mountains and temples, and the silhouettes of passing life forms as either people or animals. Those small little sections of night that were hidden in the day; that was what Mila loved best.
It was summer, when the days became longer and hotter.
Mila was working away at her loom. She sat outside, on a cool rock in the shadow of a large orange tree. She threaded and wove and let her loom clack away as she worked, a colorful and beautiful pattern appeared before her on the loom. The shades were all dark and muted, a beautiful blue with specks of white, and the glowing crescent of the moon, all bordered by black feathers.
It was a pattern she had made many times before. Most of her beautiful fabrics contained the same theme; darkness and nighttime and constellations. She didn't fear that people would become tired of her work, for Mila knew that many loved the night just as she did. And her work was stunning, beautiful, true artful masterpieces that anyone would be proud to call their own.
But today, the sun was so hot.
Even in the shade, Mila found herself sweating. No fresh water seemed to be enough. For the fifth time that day, Mila paused at her loom, and found herself walking upstream to the base of the river, near the small waterfall, to refill her water canisters.
Leaving the shade was like entering hell.
The hot sun was immediately on her back, sweltering away. It didn't feel like a kiss, it felt like a burn. It bore down on her, made it more difficult to walk. The night was never this hard on her; not ever. When she reached the base of the waterfall, it had felt like she had walked across the entire desert. Panting, she put the canister under the fresh flowing water, watching impatiently as the container slowly filled up with liquid relief.
Unable to wait anymore, she set the canister down upon the banks, and stepped underneath the small waterfall herself. The heat of the sun was gone.
Mila stood underneath the waterfall, spreading her arms out and rejoining the coldness of the water, the refreshing elements cleansing her of the heat of the day. Tilting her head up, she drank straight from the falling water. She let her light dress cling to her body, stick to her thighs, and her pulled back hair become matted against her dark skin.
"Bless," Mila said, once she stepped out of the river's shower. "Bless you, waterfall." Turning her head up towards the sky, she shouted, "And curse you, sun!" With a groan and a grunt, she stopped to pick up her container of water, and made her way back to her loom. She had not expected the sun to answer.
"Why?" said a hot, rasping voice.
Mila paused, looking all around her. She had heard a voice, that much she knew, but she saw no one else around her.
"What?" she asked, not knowing what else to say.
"Why?" replied the rasping voice. Mila could not even tell if it was male or female, young or old, foreign or native. It was simply a voice, one with personality, but nothing more to identify it. It was odd, ambiguous, and coming from nowhere. There was a slight breeze, though, so Mila figured that the words had been carried by the wind.
"Why what?" she asked, deciding to go along with the conversation.
"Why should I be cursed?" rasped the voice.
"You? I said nothing about you. I said, 'Curse you, sun.' You are not the sun."
"But I am," said the hot, rasping voice.
Mila stopped dead in her tracks. Lifting her hand, she turned her gaze upwards, towards the blinding sky and the burning orb that she hated so much. "I am speaking to the sun?" she asked, smirking all the while. She didn't believe it, for why should she? The sun had never spoken to anyone before. Why should it start speaking now?
"Yes. You are speaking to the sun itself."
"Yeah. Okay," Mila mocked.
Slowly, she saw the orange tree and her loom coming back into sight. She sped up, wanting to get back into the shade as soon as possible, and return to her developing portrait of the lovely night.
"You do not believe me," said the raspy voice once more.
"Of course I don't believe you. Why should I?" Mila laughed.
The conversation paused there. Mila set down her water canister, and sat back down in the shade of the orange tree. She was happy not to be talking to some random voice anymore.
Maybe it was just some voice in my head, Mila thought to herself. And if that is the case, I think I must be going crazy. Perhaps I have sun stroke. If anyone saw me talking to myself, that would be the conclusion they would make.
So when the voice spoke again, softer and sounding farther away, Mila did not answer. She simply threaded and wove, until the fabric night stood complete before her.
"It is very beautiful, your work," said the soft voice. "I only wish you could love me the same."
Weaving was not Mila's only skill. She had skills in almost every art there was; weaving, painting, jewelry-making, and sculpting. Any fine work of art was usually attributed to her, for she was amazing in her skill. She had the vision to see the beauty in every type of art, and her hands were magic.
That was what everyone always said, that her hands were magic. Everything such touched turned to black diamonds and blue opals. Silver like the sweat of the moon.
Now, Mila sat in the shade of an apple blossom tree, sewing a thousand silver flecks into dark blue silk. She knew every constellation by heart, and she was sewing in the pattern of the December sky.
"Please talk to me."
Mila heard the voice again.
It had showed up every single day since her visit to the waterfall. Mila tried her best to ignore it, to convince herself that it was some spirit that had entered her mind. She would not entertain it. Ignore it, leave it alone, and it would go away. Or so she hoped.
But now, it had finally worn her down.
"What do you want to talk about?" she asked in a small voice.
No one was around her, so she could speak openly without fear of being though mad. Besides, though she was loathe to admit it, it was nice to have something to talk to, even if it wasn't actually real.
"Well, for one, your work is very beautiful. If I had eyes, it would bring tears to them."
"Thank you," Mila responded, a smile stretching across her face.
"I only wish that you would think me so beautiful."
"I do not even know who you are," she said.
"I have told you. I am the sun."
"You are not the sun," Mila said firmly. "The sun doesn't talk. Nor does the moon. Nor do the stars. You're a spirit. A kind one, I will admit, but you are not fooling me."
"I am not a spirit. I am the sun. Truly. Honestly."
Mila listened carefully to the voice. It was hot, like the breath of someone overheated, or having finished a cup full of steaming tea. And it was raspy. It was not male or female, or young or old. It carried no accent, and had nothing special about it.
Therefore it had to be a spirit.
"Tell me about yourself," Mila said to the voice. She knotted the final loop into the thread, and began sewing a new flake of silver onto the silken dress.
"What do you wish to know?"
"Are you male or female?"
"I am neither," replied the voice. Sounded like a spirit. Spirits could be genderless; they often times were. There were some humans that were genderless, so why should spirits be any different?
"Are you young or old?" Mila asked calmly.
"I am old. Very, very old," replied the voice.
Very old, Mila repeated in her mind. Sounded more like a spirit. Spirits could live forever and ever, and it was rare to ever meet a spirit younger than a thousand years. Mila nodded, not sure that it had any affect, but it helped her to think. She smiled as she thought of her spirit companion.
So often she had been alone.
It was nice to think that someone stayed with her, someone who liked her, would be there for her. Slowly her barriers were coming down, and she wanted to let this spirit in, to have it be with her. Even if she could never see it, never hold it, never sleep with it, it was nice to have it around.
Just the feeling of it being near her, however way it was, was comforting to her. She wanted to think that, when she went to bed that night, the spirit would follow her in.
"Where are you from?" Mila asked.
"I am from the dawn of creation."
"Wow. That is quite old." Mila's fingers paused, and she set the needle and thread down on the clump of fabric. Her mind wandered back, all those eons ago, when the Earth was still young and the universe still freshly created. The dawn of creation. Something so ancient, something so grand.
And it was taken by her.
A blush rose up into Mila's face.
"I'm flattered," she told the voice.
"Please," the voice rasped, "tell me something about yourself."
"What do you want to know?"
The voice was silent for a long time; so long that Mila went back to her work. Fifteen more silver beads were sewn onto the midnight silk before she finally heard the voice speaking to her once more.
"Do you love the night?"
"Of course I love the night!" she said. "Like you would even have to ask!"
"Why?" Mila heard the voice whisper.
"Why? Because, the night is so beautiful! It is dark and mysterious, it creates a serene feeling over the whole earth. And, it is constantly changing into something new. Every night the moon changes shape, and over the seasons the stars change, their patterns drifting across the sky to form new pictures, new constellations. Plus, the temperature is so much better. And the moon doesn't blind me like the sun does…"
Mila had to stop herself there. She could go on and on forever about why she loved the night so much, and she didn't want to get too carried away.
"I think I understand," said the voice. "I have another question."
"What do you do inside your hut?"
Mila blushed once more, for she thought the question somewhat personal. But even as the voice asked, she felt aroused by the question, the blood rushing between her legs. Maybe she could take this spirit to bed, after all.
"Well, I mostly sleep. But I do other stuff, too. There is a kitchen in there, where I cook for myself, and any guests that I may happen to have. Though I admit, it has been a while since I last had a guest…"
"Anything else?" asked the rasping voice.
"I clean when I need to. Oh, and I paint. A lot. Not just on the canvases that I sell, but all over my house. I paint on the walls, on the bedposts, on the table. That was how I perfected my skill. I used to paint all the time when I was younger, and ever since then I kept painting and creating. My ceiling is covered with beautiful murals, of spiraling colors cascading into one another, and fantastical animals flowing into water and chasing stars to eat…"
"It truly is amazing to listen to you talk."
Mila blushed again. "Thank you."
"You keep telling me you are the sun," Mila said as she worked the melted silver into the shape of a flying bat. The heat from the kiln felt even worse than the sun. Even in the darkest of shadows, the thickest of shades, she couldn't rid herself of the feeling that it was like the tongue of the sun licking at her body.
"I am the sun, indeed."
"Prove it!" Mila shouted. The heat made her angry, impatient, and she'd had enough of this spirit's shenanigans. "Prove to me that you are the sun!"
"Very well…step into my light…"
When Mila had finished shaping the silver bat, and it had been placed to cool, she did as the voice had instructed her. Her body was still hot and slick with sweat, but she stepped into the summer sunlight all the same.
"Now what?" Mila asked.
"You have heard of the sweat of the moon, yes?"
"Place a pot at your feet, and I will give you the sweat of the sun, and thus a part of me…" said the rasping voice.
With a sigh, Mila went and fetched a pot, large and hollowed out and deep black in color. She took it and placed it at her feet, curious as to see what would happen. Once it had been placed at her feet, Mila stood in front of it, looking down into its blackened hollows, and waited.
Slowly, molten gold started dripping down into it.
Mila's eyes widened, and she looked up. Gold was starting to fall from the sky, piece by piece. Mila raised her hand up, to shield her eyes, but there was no mistaking that this plethora of liquid gold was coming from the center of the sky, the blinding orb that was the sun itself.
"You…" she stuttered.
Her throat felt dry, and she licked her lips, trying to make her tongue work.
"You really are the sun."
"Yes," replied the rasping voice. "And now you believe me, my love. Still, I wish that you could love me just the same as I love you."
Mila didn't know how to respond to that. No longer able to look up into the bright sky, she put her head down, staring at her dark feet, thinking. Thinking of what to say, what to do. The black pot was at her feet still, the molten gold slowly starting to harden into solid form. The warm color swam in front of her eyes, glistening in the sunlight. It was yellow, like the lemons in the lemon tree, and mixed with an amber, like the color of Mila's eyes when the sunlight struck them.
Slowly, Mila started to see the beauty on the sun.
It was warmth, it was nurturing, and she was starting to see that it was life itself. All the flowers and trees and plants grew upwards towards the sun; people became awake, alive as the sun revealed its face to the world. It made the Earth alive and awake, it helped to grow the planet, it balanced everything out.
Mila loved the night, but she needed the day.
Stooping, she grabbed the dark pot by the handle and slid it into the shade with her. The coolness graced her body, and she breathed out a sigh that she didn't know she had been holding. Her dark skin no longer felt like it was being burned, like it was melting.
"You still hide from me…" whispered the voice.
"It feels better in the shade," Mila responded instantly. She wouldn't lie, not to the sun or to herself. It felt better in the shade; that was the simple truth, and she would speak it.
"Will I see more of you come winter? I am colder then, and the nights are longer, but will you stand outside more, let me see you more, let me touch you more…?"
"We'll see…" Mila said.
Gold slowly started seeping into Mila's work. Betwixt the silver and the clear glass, the bright gold was worked into the artwork, melted into Mila's sculptures and woven into her gowns and painted into her canvases. Bright bits of sun that she would never have dreamed of reaching her visions of perfection.
And more than gold, but amber, bright yellows and reds and oranges. Glass marbles that shone like rubies and crystalized lemons. Mila was changing, though she did not know whether it was for better or for worse. More importantly, was whether or not she cared. So what if she started liking the day just as much as the night?
It wouldn't hurt her. Or so she thought.
As she worked, and the days and weeks passed her by, the sun talked to her each day. The two of them talked about many things, and they grew closer each time. Luckily, the sun no longer asked Mila why she hated it, or why she didn't like the heat, or why she hated daytime at all. The sun saw her growth, like a flower sprouting from the black soil and reaching for the rays of light.
Mila's skin had a sun-kissed glow to it now.
The conversations got more and more personal, more in depth, and neither of them seemed to mind.
"Well," Mila said shyly, "I had my first kiss the same day I had sex for the first time." She blushed, despite the fact that she had nothing to be embarrassed about. Lots of people must have been the same way.
In Mila's mind, she could picture her early years. Amongst the rest of the crowd, of children her age growing into teenagers and into young adults. Their first kiss when they were barely thirteen and then years later, when they had matured, then they coupled with other people. Mila hadn't been like that; she was always reserved.
"Do you want to talk about it? I very much want to hear it," the sun rasped out. The whispered, hot breath of the sun was something Mila was coming to like.
"Oh, you know. I met someone in one of the crowded area of the city…one of the denser parts where I get a lot more customers and a lot more money…and I brought them home with me. I kissed them—and that was my first kiss—and then later I slept with them."
She waited for the sun to say more.
It didn't, so Mila continued.
Revisiting the past wasn't something that she disliked, so why should it bother her to talk about it?
"It was a man close to my age. I took them home and we talked…about a lot of different stuff…we cooked a dinner together and ate together…and by the end of the night I was naked in his lap, straddling him and—" Mila cut herself off.
"Don't be sorry," the sun responded. "I don't mind hearing that story at all."
A warm breeze blew through the land, rustling the grasses and leaves and making the small birds take flight into the air once more. Mila watched the small, blue birds as they soared, noting how they dipped down low.
"I think a storm is coming," Mila said. Not really to the sun, but to herself as she thought aloud. She set the glass beadwork necklace she was working on down upon the mossy stone steps of her house, and went straight to the kiln. She closed all the windows, shut up all the vents, and climbed up on top of the lemon tree that sat right beside it, giving it plenty of shade.
Up and up she went in the tree, till she reached the top, standing on the thickest branch that could support her weight. From her place in the tree, she could see for miles. She took in the sight around her, of the wild untouched land to the South and the metropolitan cityscapes in the North.
Mila scanned the sky, looking for a line of dark clouds somewhere far out on the horizon, but all looked clear to her so far.
"Why have you not done that before?" hissed the voice of the sun.
"Done what?" Mila responded, not really thinking of what the sun was saying.
"Come closer to me. Why have you not climbed a tree before? The higher up you climb, the closer we are together."
Mila stopped scanning the horizon, thinking over the sun's words. She had never thought about getting closer to the sun, not really. For the sun was burning hot and impossible to reach. She would never touch the sun, and Mila thought that she never wanted to. But something about the sun's words struck a strange cord within her, something that resounded through her mind.
"I just hadn't thought about it," she said at last, and went back to her scanning.
Hanging onto the frailer branches for support, she slowly spun, scanning now the other direction of the horizon. Squinting, Mila thought that she saw a thin line of dark gray against the bright blue of the sky.
"I believe that is my storm," she mumbled to herself, and climbed back down out of the lemon tree.
"You are farther away now," the sun spoke to her.
"Only by a few feet," Mila told it.
Mila went back to her mossy front steps and picked up the uncompleted necklace in her hands once more. She turned, sitting so that she could watch the progress of the incoming storm. The clouds would roll in eventually, turning the Earth cool and gray once more.
Mila loved the rain, and the clouds.
If only because it blocked out the sun. Her hands stilled as she realized this.
"You won't be able to see me with the clouds, will you?" Mila asked.
Mila thought about this, her hands idle over the glass beads of the necklace. It wasn't a big deal, she reasoned. Every night the sun couldn't see her, as it was cloaked by darkness and the feathers of the night. That time apart was good for them, since seeing each other every second of every day couldn't be healthy. But something prickled at the back of her neck; a warning that she couldn't read.
"I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then?" Mila asked, stringing another scarlet bead.
"No. Not tomorrow."
"Then…when…?" Mila asked.
"Many days from now. Perhaps a week, perhaps more. This is a large storm, I can see that, and it will come over your land and linger there for days on end."
Mila's heart started to sink.
"Days without seeing you…?"
Earlier, before the sun had ever spoken to her, that thought would have thrilled her, made her dance with joy. No blaring sun, no hot days, no scorching weather; just a nice, peaceful, beautiful night turning into a serene gray day. But now, that she and the sun had become…friends, or something akin to friends, the thought made her sad.
Days without seeing the sun, or the sun seeing her.
"Will we still be able to talk?" Mila asked.
"We would, but it would be like talking through a thick wall of stone. Even if you listen carefully, you still wouldn't really be able to hear me, even if I screamed and yelled," the sun hissed in reply.
"I cannot go above the clouds," Mila said, "for the clouds are far too high for me to reach."
A long silence stretched on as Mila sat upon her porch, the unfinished necklace resting in her lap and the jars of fiery glass beads resting nearby. She watched and waited while the gray clouds rolled ever nearer, turning the radiant sun-kissed land into something dull.
"Maybe, I could sink below the clouds…"
"I could sink below the clouds," the sun rasped again, "and then I could see you, and talk to you. We would be closer together like before."
Mila stuttered, trying to find the words. How? And why? The sun could move? Never had Mila seen the sun move, never in her life, and she hadn't heard of the sun moving in any of the ancient stories that circulated around the city.
"Trust me," whispered the voice, "I can do it. Just trust me."
And Mila did.
The sun had spoken, when the sun should not speak. The sun had given her gold straight from the core of its being, when the sun shouldn't even have a conscious. If the sun could do these things, then, Mila figured, the sun could move in the sky.
She watched and waited, wondering if the sun would come straight down from the sky and fall onto the Earth or if it would move around in the sky, no longer in the center but moving just as the stars did. For a long time, Mila saw nothing happen, and slowly she told herself that it had all been a dream.
That she had lost her mind, gone crazy and thought that the sun was talking to her.
And now, when she expected the sun to move in the sky, it wouldn't. Simply because it couldn't, and had no reason to, nor the ability. It had all been a delusion and now she had to face her reality once more.
But the sun spoke to her once more, breaking the silence.
"Watch," whispered the rasping voice.
Mila sighed, convincing herself that she was hallucinating once more, hearing voices in her head that she thought was the sun. But still, she turned her eyes upwards.
Mila was used to watching the sky, could expertly read the signs of the day and the night, the approaching of storms and the cycling of seasons. Just as the clouds had moved further in from the distant horizon, now approaching at a greater speed, Mila saw that the sun was no longer centered.
She bolted upright, spilling the necklace upon the ground.
Her mouth hung open as she witnessed it; the sun had moved!
The sun was not centered, but it was inching down towards the horizon. As Mila stood and watched, she saw how slowly the sun was moving, but it was indeed moving. She stood until her eyes burned and bright spots appeared in her vision, until her legs felt tired from standing and her feet begged her to sit.
"Do you remember the gold that I have given you?" it hissed.
Mila nodded, still too stunned to speak.
Of course! she suddenly remembered. The gold that the sun had given her. There would be no way that the she could have imagined that, hallucinated it. It was in her work, turning the silver into something fiery, and it wasn't a dream.
Mila finally sat back down, her legs finally giving out beneath her.
With a sigh, she pushed her hand to her head, rubbing her temples in small circles. She felt a headache coming on, but not one that seemed particularly painful. It was just all too much to handle. The sun was moving, and this had never happened before.
The sun was moving, a part of the world was changing, and it was all because of her.
"So how long should I wait?" Mila asked, her head still in her hands. "How long will it be before you come all the way down to the earth and I see you…can touch you?"
"You will have to meet me." There was sadness in the sun's voice as it spoke.
"What do you mean?" Mila asked.
"I am moving down, towards you, but the sky is a dome. I can only move along the sky. Do you see the western horizon?" the sun said.
Pulling her hands from her eyes, she gazed over to the west. "Yes, I see it."
"When I touch the horizon, I will touch the earth at the same time, and then we can be together." It seemed like a romantic enough statement, but Mila thought about all the many miles that it would take to walk. The horizon always seemed to stretch forever and ever onwards, with no place that stopped.
"You want me to walk to the horizon?" Mila asked the sun.
"Only if you want to," the sun whispered back.
In the distance, thunder rumbled. Low and deep, and it brought back old memories. Memories of sitting upon these very steps, when she was younger still, still trying to perfect her craft. She had rejoiced at the sound of the thunder, for she knew that soon the clouds would cover the sun and that she would be free from its fiery, burning glare.
Now, as Mila sat upon the steps of her house, gazing outwards towards the western horizon and thinking about how many steps she would need to take, she thought of that memory once more.
Not of the thunder, but of hating the sun.
Maybe she could do it again. Hate the sun, and the daylight, and wait for nightfall like she had done every day of her life since before the sun had first spoken to her. But could she go back? That was the question that Mila did not want to ask, for she already knew the answer.
The necklace was put away safely, the doors locked and all the windows closed, everything safe and secure in its place.
Mila took one final look at her abode, safe and secure and the one place in life where she had always loved more than anything. Turning her feet, she began to walk towards the horizon.
The sun kept moving towards the west, until finally the fire started dipping into the earth, touching the ground, while the sky burned a million colors. Vermilion and scarlet and dark purple and amethyst, pinks fading into dark blues and deepening into black. Oranges and yellows and golds and ambers, bronzes and coppers that caught the edges of the painted clouds and turned them into a collage of mixing colors.
Mila had never known such beauty.
It kept her distracted, while her feet grew tired beneath her body and her eyes began to droop. Her back her, and she was feeling fatigued. But she kept forcing herself onwards, making herself take one step and then another step and then another. She wouldn't stop until she had reached the horizon itself, where the sky kissed the earth, and only then would she rest.
Looking up at the scene before her was such bliss.
Looking down would only leave her with the image of her feet, caked with mud and dirt, weary and shaking, as she walked on pained soles.
"I am almost there," she said to the sun.
"Yes, you are," the sun replied, a hint of wonder and happiness in the hiss that was it's voice.
"I am excited," Mila confessed. "This will be…there are no words…"
"No, there isn't," the sun agreed. The sun appeared darker for some reason, as if it were blushing. "I am excited too, so excited. I have never touched the earth before…nor anything else on earth…"
Mila walked until she finally came to the edge of the horizon, where the sun had dipped down onto the earth.
The sun was a giant, and burning hot, and blindingly bright. But Mila approached the sun even so. She raised her arm once more to shield her eyes from the bright rays, and her steps slowed once the heat became to great for her.
Having reached the end of her journey, she collapsed down onto her knees, breathing hard and her body aching with the need for rest. All her joints seemed to groan when she fell to the ground, and her skin seemed to sigh.
The hot breath of the sun was upon her, as she knelt before it, still holding her arms out to shield herself from the sun.
"I am here," she whispered, for she was so close that she didn't need to yell.
"Yes, you are, and I am so happy that you are here. I've watched you for a long time, and talked to you, and so much more, but it is so different to see you here, so close that I can almost touch you!" the sun exclaimed, the hissing increasing till it sounded like a squealing kettle full of steam.
Mila shook her head.
"But I can't touch you," Mila told the sun, her voice still so low. "You are too hot, and too bright. To touch you would hurt me, for my body can burn," she said.
Deep blues and blacks were covering the sun now, and Mila thought that the night must be approaching. So she had spent all day walking towards the sun, and now she would only see it for such a short time before the night covered it once more, and she would either have to wait here for hours to see the sun again, or walk all the way back to her home so many miles away.
But the deepening colors were because of the sun's sadness, but the sun knew just as well as she did that their time was nearing, and that they would soon be apart for many more hours.
"I do not want to hurt you. Seeing you is enough. To have you so close…"
The sun kept trying to ease the burden that had come over both of them, but it was all in vain. Mila knew this just as well as the sun did, and they couldn't talk to each other. Not freely, with such a weight upon Mila's heart and the burden upon the sun's light.
"How much longer do you think we have?" Mila asked.
"Perhaps another hour or so," the sun replied, the hissing voice fading back into a whisper.
"Then," Mila said, putting as much enthusiasm into her voice as she could, "let us make it last. Make the most of it."
Her smile cheered the sun.
"Yes," it agreed.
But as the two of them talked, the sun kept slipping away, farther below the horizon, as the dark feathers of the night started to cloak the sky. The sun's voice got fainter and fainter until there was nothing left, and the darkness of the night had consumed the world once more.
After the sun was gone, Mila sat at the edge of the horizon for a long time, not doing anything but reminiscing. She was tired, so tired, but she didn't like the thought of sleeping here. Not tonight or any night. But perhaps she would come to like it, just the same way that she had come to like the daytime, and come to love the sun.
But there was nothing left here, not here, not now.
Tears welled in her eyes as Mila stood up, her body in agony once more. But she ignored them, simply letting them streak down her face and fall down onto the earth as she made her way back to her home.
She walked and walked, never stopping until the many miles she had passed led her back to her front door, back inside her comfortable abode once more, and into her bed.
When the feathers of the night were pulled away from the sky once more, Mila was awake. She couldn't sleep that night, despite all her exhaustion. What little bit she could get was only a minute or so long, before she started tossing and turning again, unable to get comfortable.
And when the feathers of the night were pulled away from the sky, she left her bed, exited her house, looking up into the sky, expecting to see the sun high and centered once more. But it wasn't. When the final feathers of the night left the sky, what appeared was a sky streaked with soft, bright hues.
Flushed pinks and purples, admist the final black feathers studded with stars, fading into golden hues near the eastern horizon. Mila followed the light all the way to the eastern horizon, and saw the tip of the sun rising from the earth.
Her eyes widened.
Why was the sun not in the center of the sky once more?
Why was it rising in the east, when it had set in the west?
Her mind was spinning, partly from the mystery of the sunrise, but mostly from her lack of sleep. With weary feet and a hazed mind, she took a few tentative steps forward, followed by more tentative steps, and more still.
As she walked, she fell into a sleep-like state, walking as if in a trance, her brain muted as it sought to recover itself from being awake for so long.
Only the sudden burning heat that consumed her body snapped her out of her trance.
She screamed, jumping back away from the thing that burned her, only to see that it was the sun itself. The sun was still sitting on the edge of the horizon, rising ever so slowly, and she had walked straight into it without meaning to.
Mila rubbed her hands over herself, trying to soothe her pained skin, but nothing seemed to help.
"My dear!" the sun rasped. "My dear Mila! I am sorry! I am so sorry! I did not mean to hurt you!"
She kept taking deep breaths, waiting until the pain had gone entirely, and all that was left was an ache that reached almost to her bones. But she could ignore it.
Better yet, the longer the ache lasted, the more bearable it became. Until the flexing of her muscles started to please her, to feel the new sensation inside of them.
"It is alright," she said to the sun, looking straight into its face. "I am alright. I do not hurt much." She gave it a bright smile, trying to reassure it. "I am just happy to see you once again."
"I am happy to see you, too."
But the sun did not stay in the horizon, for it had to rise. The world needed the day, for the sun to rise up into the center of the sky once more and fill their world with light and warmth. Humans needed it, animals needed it, plants needed it, the soil and water needed it. They all depended upon the sun for a life that they needed, whether they knew it or not.
And so Mila watched her love ascend into the sky once more, and stay like that for a long time, nearly the full length of the day, before she watched the sun descend towards the western horizon once more.
"Will you come see me again?" the sun asked her, in a whisper that was almost shy.
"Of course," Mila said, and set out once more for the western horizon. She did not care how many miles, or how badly her body needed rest; all she cared about was touching the sun once more. That burn had left something upon her, something tender that had worked itself into her heart and strengthened her skin.
So she walked towards the far off horizon once more, meeting the sun just as it began to set, dipping into the earth and sinking slowly down once more. Mila knew what to expect this time when she laid her hands upon the surface of the sun, was prepared for the intense heat that would hurt her once more. But when she touched the sun, there was no pain.
There was a burn, and a blindness in her eyes when everything went white, but no pain.
A bite that was once so painful was now a kiss that was sweeter than any juice or any honey or any nectar in Mila's mind. She closed her eyes and sighed, relishing in the feeling of complete comfort, of no longer having any drawbacks to loving the sun. Heat had gone from her, pain no longed touched her, and the sweat the once coated her skin each and every day had dried.
"Nice to see you again," Mila said as the sun rose once more.
She was tired from walking all the way back East, so she sat down upon a giant boulder that stuck out of the earth. Mila leaned back, enjoying the view of the sun shyly peeking up at her from the border of the horizon.
She didn't even need to squint, and her headaches were no more. Although, she hated to admit to herself, she was starting to go blind. But it didn't matter to her anymore. Even if she did go blind, she would be left with her beloved darkness again. The sun was two loves in one, she somehow came to believe.
Since the sun began moving, it always has to move. There is no stopping so massive once it begins to move, so when the sun decided to dip down to the western horizon, it had begun a cycle of which it could never end. Mila was faithful, through the rest of her life (for the multiple more decades that it lasted). When the sun rose in the east, she was there to greet it, to smile and talk and touch once more until the sun rose so high that she could no longer touch it. And then she walked, miles upon miles to the west, to meet the sun once more.
And because of Mila, the sun rose and set.
That it why the sun moves.