As the Sun Set Sideways

As the Sun Set Sideways

A Story by O.V. Hudson
"

When one travels in a circle the world becomes warped. Sharp edges bend, moments repeat and one is left to wonder if there is an end or just a continuation.

"

As the Sun Set Sideways

 

 

 

The remaining light of a long day hung low across the ground. The air was warm and reassuring. We strolled around the fence with a sense of leisure but did not set foot inside. We could have though. The gate had four openings, one on each side of the dilapidated square although square may be a generous term. Really if viewed from directly above it would be hard to correctly guess the shape at all. 


The park started to curl at the edges shortly after its 5th birthday. The foundation, one that was not properly inspected before construction began, would deflate and bubble depending on the time of year leaving balloons and indents throughout the property. As the summer heat ripened the ground would relax, stretch at the seams, and pull apart a link of chain here or divide a patch of grass there. This process would only become more pronounced as the summer started to limp away and by late August the park seemed to stretch itself across the entire valley, bumping up against the incline, seemingly ready to ascend if given the chance. It never had the opportunity though. The leaves would begin jumping off trees and winter would come along soon after, settling itself comfortably at the bottom of the valley. This occurrence caused the park much trouble. The ground would shiver, the fence would freeze and just as quickly as the earth had roamed in every direction it would then retract to conserve heat. The fence would never realign perfectly, the grass could not hide the brown scars that had formed under the weight of summer, and the entire park fell into a spell of depression that made it collapse in on itself. Locals saw all this activity as normal.“Everyone changes with the seasons.” They would say, “I don’t look like I did last summer ago either.”


So on that night I walked with her in a circle around that once square park and one of us was happy.


I remember feeling tired. This was at the end of summer so one lap around was much longer than it would be at any other point of the year. Briefly I would turn towards her as she took in our surroundings. Each noise would call for her attention and she would comply with a sharp whip of the head followed by an elongated stare. This would last until she grew bored or heard another disturbance that pined for her attention. I watched her and lost interest at the same time so my eyes reverted back to my feet. I still watch them race from time to time.


On that day my right foot was eager while my left lagged behind. Each would grab hold of the lead briefly as I walked and then concede first place to the opposite foot only to quickly change its mind and jump back out in front. The right always seemed to jump faster and hold the lead longer and I didn’t know why, I simply enjoyed the back and forth. The only downside to this race was that it would never end. There was no start and no finish. Each foot simply raced against the other oblivious to purpose. In all fairness I guess it is hard to reach the end of a circle.


“I wish the weather wasn’t ending.”

Her statement had broken my concentration on the race.

“I’m sure there will be more weather tomorrow.”

“Oh come on you know what I mean. The end of summer is always the saddest part of year. At least in the middle of winter everyone becomes numb to the weather. It can only be cold so many days in a row before it stops being considered cold right? At some point its just normal. In the fall though the weather changes daily. Every time I go outside now I’ll be reminded that the warmth is over, that the sun is gone. I’ll have to put on layers of clothes and psyche myself up just to leave the house. It’s like nature doesn’t enjoy my company anymore.”


 She looked at me as I said nothing then she turned towards the sound of a child’s brief shout. She continued to watch as the mother comforted the toddler and after losing interest she just turned straight ahead as if our conversation never happened. I had no real interest in rehashing the topic. Her conversations always seemed to go in a loop. There was never any beginning to them it was simply one thought after another, void of purpose, ultimately reaching the same idea that began the talk. I remember thinking how tiresome this became over time and how from that moment I would always try to speak with purpose, entertaining only ideas with substance and dwelling on them until a conclusion was reached. I wanted a beginning and definitive end to what I was saying. 

That just seemed right.


“You know the summer isn’t ending?”

She looked at me as though my words brought her back to some distant memory, something buried under layers of new ideas and just forgotten about.

“What’s that?”

“How you were just talking about the end of summer?”

“Oh yes that’s right! It sure seems like it’s ending.”

“It will be back though. It just goes away for a while and then comes back.”

“I guess. How long until you think the pumpkins will be ready to carve?”

“I’m not sure.”

We both paused as the conversation took a breath.

“It sure feels like an end though.” She began again,  “The weather does a good job convincing me that it’s over for good this time. The cold seems to kill the sunlight and the warmth rather than just replace it. It happens so slowly. You can’t point to any day of the year and say this is when summer ends, it just gradually surrenders to fall.” 


I looked at her as she began to think about her own statement, seemingly saddened by the truth that it carried. She then began collecting all the images around us again, trying to store them for winter. I think she needed proof to get her through the cold, something she could point to and say, “This proves that the weather won’t last forever. The warmth is just going away, not ending. It never really ends.”


I looked at her as she looked around and my thoughts grew cloudy and began collapsing into one long, unending string of thoughts and as we walked neither of us were really happy.


“Do you think the sun is ever going to end?” I said with a childish grin. “I mean if the weather can convince you that the warmth is gone forever does the darkness ever convince you that the sun is gone forever?”

 She seemed to take my question as a challenge. Her steps grew considerably in importance. She began to carry about her a presence of complexity, which contrasted her earlier aura of simplicity. Some time passed and my feet continued to race so I chimed in,

“I was just trying to be cute.”

I doubt those words ever reached her ears because she spoke shortly after without acknowledging my previous statement.


“Have you ever been up when the worlds asleep? Sometimes it feels like the end. The darkness masks everything. I know the sun will come back out and people will walk around the next day but if you sit up at the peak of night, and you’re quite, maybe hold your breath for a couple seconds and just sit there, it kind of feels like the end.”

She quit the thought quickly after she spoke. The world exhaled around us. I felt an urge to speak.

“It all seems to go in a circle. You can never really tell what’s right side up or upside down, there just seems to be spots along the loop that stand out and then fade away but it all does so seamlessly. No start, no real finish.”


She looked at me the same way she looked at the world around us, taking in the image, keeping it for proof.

We didn’t speak anymore after that. I remember we just kept walking around. I looked up at the sun late in the evening, as it was just about to fall behind the horizon. I stared at it and thought it seemed a little off center, as though someone had turned it slightly to the side. I didn’t mention this to her though, we just kept walking. I think both of us may have been happy.

 

 


© 2016 O.V. Hudson



Author's Note

O.V. Hudson
I appreciate any comment, positive or negative, that a reader is willing to offer.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

Your writing is strong & your storytelling is interesting. In a few places, it seems that you can go a little overboard with your descriptions, which sound a little repetitious. The 2nd paragraph is the first time you do this & it feels like the whole paragraph could be deleted. Or at least, pruned down to less than half of what it now is. The 5th paragraph is another one that feels like it's just repeating the same boring thing. I think one or two comments is enuf on this topic of how he's walking. Instead of the narrator watching himself, it's more interesting when the point of view goes outwards, too, with more sensory observations . . . seeing what's around him (not just a whole paragraph about his weird walking), what does the lady in this story look like? What do things outside smell like & sound like?

Also, I kinda like the way you tell us in the beginning that one of them is happy. Then about the middle, I think I remember that both of them were unhappy. Then at the end, both of them are happy. I think you don't need to SAY this . . . why not SHOW US what this looks like & let the reader figure it out . . . show us the smiles or whatever other signs can convey this by SHOWING instead of TELLING.

Your dialogue is very well done & the interactions between the two feel realistic & interesting. This is the strong aspect of your story-telling.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Your writing is strong & your storytelling is interesting. In a few places, it seems that you can go a little overboard with your descriptions, which sound a little repetitious. The 2nd paragraph is the first time you do this & it feels like the whole paragraph could be deleted. Or at least, pruned down to less than half of what it now is. The 5th paragraph is another one that feels like it's just repeating the same boring thing. I think one or two comments is enuf on this topic of how he's walking. Instead of the narrator watching himself, it's more interesting when the point of view goes outwards, too, with more sensory observations . . . seeing what's around him (not just a whole paragraph about his weird walking), what does the lady in this story look like? What do things outside smell like & sound like?

Also, I kinda like the way you tell us in the beginning that one of them is happy. Then about the middle, I think I remember that both of them were unhappy. Then at the end, both of them are happy. I think you don't need to SAY this . . . why not SHOW US what this looks like & let the reader figure it out . . . show us the smiles or whatever other signs can convey this by SHOWING instead of TELLING.

Your dialogue is very well done & the interactions between the two feel realistic & interesting. This is the strong aspect of your story-telling.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

248 Views
1 Review
Rating
Added on November 11, 2016
Last Updated on November 11, 2016
Tags: Short Story, Love, Confusion, Repetition, Death

Author

O.V. Hudson
O.V. Hudson

Tamaqua, PA



About
I hope my writing will serve as a bridge between myself and people I will never meet. We may be able to learn something from each while avoiding that awkward tradition of exchanging pleasantries. .. more..

Writing
Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by O.V. Hudson


Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by O.V. Hudson