Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2289604-Oxen-of-the-Sun
Rated: GC · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2289604
This is a short story written from three perspectives.
A sun-drenched meadow made whole by the two men laying amongst the reeds.

Whimsy tip-toeing out of pandora’s box for the first time in what must feel like forever.

Hands in hair, eyes rolled back, smiling only for the sky.

Cigarette smoke, but it’s mostly a mirage, a memory not meant for the mind, but for muscle.

And yet,

The night sky, unforgiving in it’s solipsis,

The twisted metal dripping with gasoline and punctuated by the scent of burning rubber, or at least rubber once burnt and never minded until now.

The gash on his forehead leaks like a virtuoso, his eyes bleed determination as he rips and pulls himself free, knowing he might never see the sun again.

The air is heavy as Whimsy crawls backs to where it fucking belongs.


Unfortunately, the crash itself was rather blasé.


It’s funny the way that love works, huh?

Ain’t much til it’s reflexive? Ain’t real til it has to be? If it’s not confusing then what’s it for?

I didn't know I loved him til I saw the way the sun loved him.

Lit his head up like a halo borne of golden thread, made him glow all reminiscent of those easy conversations around the slow-burning embers of someone else's bonfire, oh!, it pushed warmth into his skin.

I think the sun still loves him, but it’s hard to tell these days.

That soft, golden light was replaced by a brilliant, blinding white. The hum of human nature was replaced by the silence of sterility. The meaningful yearning glances we shared were replaced by one-sided stares of desperation. Of begging, of pleading, of praying. Praying to his god cause I lost mine a while ago, I hope someone found it, I really do.

The doc said he had a chance to live, that’s what I’ve been holding on to. That and his hands. They’re colder than I remembered, paler.

It’s surreal here, that much I know. The TV’s been playing but I haven’t heard a word. The machines beep on and on monotonously, but I can’t stop hearing them. The room is beige and that sickly green. All the sheets are hopelessly ruffled, all the chairs are painstakingly ajar. And that plastic fucking plant with it’s stupid crinkly paper, it makes me want to kick something. All this time spent here, but I still can’t bring myself to look at him. Elephant in the room, I guess.

I keep the curtains open, just in case.


Those of yore and yesteryears swore I was omnipotent, omniprescient, unencumbered.

I think I believed them for a time.

Rows of people, laid prostrate, led to water but unable to drink, thrashing and wailing in my name.

Hard not to listen.

I only ever see the light of day, the delight and gaiety, the crops growing, and the wind blowing.

Easy to forget that the sun sets and that night comes. When I realized I left darkness in my wake, I tried my damndest, I threw myself at the moon in the hopes that I would bounce back.

I no longer sashay across the sky, but shuffle.

I give every plant a kiss, I give every person a passing glance, I try so hard to make it count.

The night still comes.


Rather quiet here.


I’m sitting on the insufficient chair, left staring agape at the TV, trying to make out the words when it strikes me that I haven't spoken in seven days. I’m sitting down, but I still stagger back. Amidst the shock, I glance at him, eager to share.

Time stops like it only has once before.

His face is cold, his body pathetic.

My mouth is open, but my throat is closing. His eyes are closed. I fucking scream.

It resounds in my throat, raw and visceral, full bodied. I mull it over while it happens. I hate attention but this isn’t about attention, it’s about survival. It’s about anything meaning anything ever again. I need to make noise, I need to be real, I need to know that I exist.

My lips are dry and cracked, my body is crumpled over itself, I move in and out of vision, of sensation. I remember doctors filling the room, I remember a gentle hand on my shoulder, I remember catching a glimpse of the sun.


Reverberations, echoes, and wails ring out across the world. I snap to attention.

They’re calling me, they love me once again, I sprint to see my children jump once more.

But as I arrive, I see no merriment, no debauchery…Instead,

Domiciles of mediocrity stretch for miles, rippling out from a well-windowed building interspersed with cinderblock, with wings bursting out from its seams. A community built around suffering.

Within my children sing, I hear them, it’s throaty, they yearn, I can hear them.

They’re out of my reach, and I’m already being dragged along. I push forward, desperate to meet their eyes, desperate to know their names, but I can’t stop forever, and they already know all too well that night must come eventually.


I’ve been hearing this ringing in the back of my ears. Quite annoying.


I sit back in my chair. The doctors came and went, filed in and out like mourners at a funeral, and here I am unable to convince them that he isn’t dead yet.

They gave me tylenol. Said I should step out, drink some water, get a bite to eat. I could only shake my head, I couldn’t even muster up a no. I’ve never been eloquent, so how could I explain that this is what I have left. That no half-hearted attempt at hydration will ever make me whole like he did.

I didn’t know what love was. I only knew what they told me, and they never told me much.

No one ever taught me to dance, but I felt the rhythm when we swayed in his basement to a song he told me I should've known.

I feel stupid now, taking long drags from cigarettes and staring morosely at the people moving in fluid synchronization, when I could have been moving, not for nobody except for me and maybe him.

I tell him.

I tell him I love him, even though he can’t hear me, probably because he can’t hear me.

I let him know that when the song’s rhythm matches the beat of my heart, I think of him. When I’m sitting in the park and a bug walks by, I think of him. When it rains, when it snows, and by god when the sun is shining, I think of him.

I can’t capitalize god anymore, but I capitalize Him.


A man, framed by tedium and repetition, staring over the rows of great bland suburbia. Past him, a man, not looking anywhere at all.

I finally see them, as I slide along slowly to the drumbeats of his forehead against tempered glass.

They’re trapped.

I recognize them. I remember their smiles, their meaningful gazing, their distant conversation. It sounds one-sided now.


I feel cold


I'm staring out the window. I see my own eyes and they scare me. I see them rove the landscape like a lighthouse, determined to illuminate the rocky shores and rough waves. I am a beacon in the dark, I am the spotlight that the actors crave, I am insignificant.

I am nothing if not a reflection of another's glee, and as I stare no longer at the landscape, but only at my reflection, I realize that there is nothing I wouldn't do for the near-inanimate man laid slump behind me.

And so I pray.

Not to god or Jesus or some lesser god of little things but to the life-giver, the nourisher, the crop-raiser, the emblem of light, the warm hug on a cold morning.

And so these are the days now, dreaming of light and floating through the moments and my eyes flutter shut, and luckily the growls of my stomach force them back open.

My nose is burnt afoul by the acrid stench of malcontent, my hair greased back, apathy burning in my once-muscles; It’s my body’s desperate grab for cleanliness.

I’m far gone, I’m past caring what the doctors think. I babble, it bears on incoherent.

I stare at the sun.

Afterimages are already burnt into my retinas, but I move past them, I move past the sunspots and the everlasting explosions that fuel our discontents, I reach its core, at this point I am the sun. I parlay with it, I offer and counteroffer, I weasel and I wheedle, I coax and I cajole. I falter, I break, I step back. I whine, I punch, I growl.

Sobbing, I whisper, “I just want him to see the sun again.”


I am made for many things, but I am not meant to be perceived. It has been many years since a mortal has dared to understand me, and longer since one has bothered to look.

I suppose it irks me that I cannot see into that center of suffering. That always was humanity’s fatal flaw, they are but nothing without a roof, so determined to block me out when I give nothing but healing light and cleansing rain.

I don’t usually take requests, but I see the sorrow etched into his eyes.


lord, I miss those bright and easy days


Is this purgatory or am I just vain?

What am I waiting for?

If he–when he–wakes up, will he even want to frolic? Will he roam the hills with me? Will I ever have another chance to make grass stains on my favorite pants that I can gaze at with distant fondness while I wait for him to return to me, or will he be just another tchotchke on that dusty and deprecated dresser in the doldrums of my mind.

Is this what I am doing it for? Is this why I’m ripping at my hair and picking at my face and clawing at my skin? For a chance at a half-life, forever in regret of what we could’ve been, living in fear of who we could be?

I rock back and forth, reflexively trying to self-soothe, but my reflexes are dulling. I press my face into his blanketed thigh, shallow breaths fogging up my glasses.

I cry, alone and softly, the way men do.


Back when the little humans had horse-drawn carts, with big wheels and unpaved roads, they would form treads in the easily-moldable loam. Back before the humans, when water ran in rivulets across great sheer plains of pure hardened rock, it formed canyons. Before even the earth rang out across the sky, I too followed a path.

I’ve been spinning for so long, burrowing into the wellspring of time and space, I don’t think I can even see the stars. But the sun never sets on itself, so I set out across the sky. I drag myself, I rip and pull.

I approach the hospital, feeling free once more.

I ride in, as if aboard a chariot. Petrichor and apricity, the oxen of the sun.

Rebirth is imminent, people scream and klaxons wail.

I lock eyes with the deranged man who called on me, who dared to see me whole.

I look past him and see his beloved, my child, our cherished dreamer, and I push warmth into his skin, into his soul.

His eyes glow with light locked beneath his lids. I kiss him on his forehead and then I am dragged back.

The path will always drag us back. We may trailblaze, we may pioneer, but we will always, me and you and us, be pulled back to that which has made us and that which will unmake us.

Our trajectory has been set.


This is it, no?
The sweet release those poets went on about?
It is sweet,
like an apricot, ripe and tender.
I rip it apart and hand you half
its juices carve canyons down your cheeks.
Poetry aside, I wish I could tell you I miss you before I go.

Death is warmer than I thought, livelier.
It smells earthy, feels delicate.
My skin seems gossamer thin and yet it’s fibers hold strong
like a spiderweb.

Maybe death isn’t final, maybe this is rebirth,
samsara or something.

I feel as a glass,
full of something.
What I contain doesn’t define me, nor drive me,
but it does make me whole.

I suppose, then, I am reborn.

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