Talent of the Sun

Jack McConnel
The talent of the sun. When the sun falls, I am not worried. Its light shoots across a distance, never covered. Its shroud blankets the world like a patchwork of dark into darkness. Every person in the world watches. They watch as it leaves and returns. They know they are not worried. Everyone watches and wonders, what if it was to stay where it was or never to come again. They are not worried but wonder, watching it rise and fall. Its presence is lovely, but its absence is greater. The only thing to be wished for more than the sun's warmth is its return from the dark, obdurate cold. What is the talent of the sun? Every person in the world looks up and wonders. Every person in the world knows.
Young Jamie wakes up in the morning and yawns. He brushes his teeth, combs his hair, picks his clothes, eats breakfast, and leaves home. He always does these things in a different order. He never could do them in the same way. Every morning, he leaves his house and falls down the steps. Every morning, he can remember he fell. He tries not to fall; he tries, but he can't help it. He and the steps are in other worlds. He isn't worried, and why should he be? And he misses the bus every morning when eating breakfast or combing his hair. Sometimes, the driver feels kind, but usually, Jamie walks; he doesn't try to miss the bus or fall down the steps, and he is not worried. His teacher is very cross when he shows up late to his class. She doesn't understand why he is late and looks unkempt, and he doesn't have the answer she wants. She is worried, but it is not her worry that matters. It is Jamies. And he is not worried.
Tom does not want to work. No one does. We all would prefer to laze about and think, but we cannot be so unlucky. We cannot be so disposed of. Tom goes to work and looks for another job, and when he finds it, he looks for another. Every job he works is the same because it is work and because Tom does not want it. But he searches and finds another, and he searches again. And after every job, when the company's day is over, Tom and the friends he finds at every job, all like him, go and find a place to sit, laugh, drink, and be. Tom does not know why he doesn't like work. He doesn't like its feel, taste, and grating respiratory nature. But he searches for another and another, and at every job, he and others like him leave the buildings and go somewhere bright and dark and different and the same, and they feel good. They do not know why they search and find another after, but they are not worried. It is what they live for, the time after.
An old man crosses the street; no one knows his name, and he has forgotten it; maybe he never knew. He walks, and the cars wait; it's the least they can do. His bones are old and getting older, his eyes have failed and are now misty, milky reflections of time, and he looks worn, leathery like the saddle of a dead horse. He is lean and stripped. He wears only the essential ornaments now. He has forgotten where he was and where he is going. All he knows is that he is now, and the cars wait; they wait and hope someone will wait for them when they become old and forgotten. He crosses the street that he does not know the name of, but he remembers its smell and its feel; he remembers what it was like; he remembers walking it with someone, someone he knew a long time ago. He's forgotten their face but remembers what touching, seeing, and being near them felt like. He remembers only the things he can hold onto, the deep things, the things unspoken; if he tried to say them, it would seem pointless, and it is. So he does not talk. He walks and remembers feelings; he is not worried; he is glad he is old, for being old means you were once young, and he is glad. When he passes a young boy late for school or a group of people laughing on the street, he remembers what was and will be. They were him, and they will be him, and he will be forever that way, the way that all are and will be. The old man walks and is not worried. He has traveled far and still has farther to go.
A bird sits on a grave. It is red and whistles a little tune. There are hundreds of places to sit, but it likes this one. It likes the way it feels. It likes the moss atop it. It likes the smell. And it likes to watch the others, the other birds, the other graves, the people who visit but never stay until they do. The bird will not live long, but it is not worried; it does not know when it will die, and it does not care; all it knows is that right now, it is alive, and that is good; it is a good thing to be alive. It watches, and it is watched, and at night, it is cold and a little scared, and it does not know if others feel this way, but they do, and if it knew, it would not be scared, and if they knew, they would not be scared. But it likes being warm, and it hates the cold, and that's all it knows. It doesn't know if others feel the same, but it wouldn't change how it felt if it did. The bird watches and is not scared; it watches and does not learn; it knows all it can know. The bird watches and does not worry.
It's a dark, cold night, they all are. Inside the hospital, it is cold, bright, and sterile. It is like a web of light, a waning spirit, and a surging birth. Inside the hospital, there is a basket. It is made of glass, and inside is a child; it does not have a name or a name given or chosen. It stirs and cries because it can do nothing else. It cries and hopes someone hears it. It does not know what hope is. Hope and hunger are the first two things felt; they are not known then, but they are. Then, there is abject confusion, confusion, and disordinance. Someone will come to help the child. Someone will. Not because they remember what it means to be like them but because they don't understand, and they feel the pity someone feels when they don't understand. The child cries loud and hard; it does not know why, but it does know how. In the morning, the child will sleep; in the morning, it will meet those it comes to know and learn what love feels like. It is not worried. It does not know the meaning of it.
The sun rises and falls. It falls very far and rises very high; it does both simultaneously and does not stop. Its light brings warmth and pleasure, and its cold absence brings people closer to one another. The light and sound of it are so strong that it hits everything it touches and everything it does not. Its loss is just as powerful as its presence. The sun rises and falls, like a giant chest heaves, like a fat cloud tumbles over itself. It is birth, it is death, it is everything in between. The constant force laments shadow and proudly gives itself to everything and everyone. It is the lurch at night and the golden beast in the sky. When it falls, the world is not worried. The talent of the sun is to rise again.

Jack McConnel is a seventeen-year-old writer from Greenville, Delaware. He attends Tatnall School and is entering his senior year of high school. Jack enjoys spending time with his friends and reading novels by Hemingway and Steinbeck. He found his inspiration for "Talent of the Sun" while on a road trip with his parents, seeing the people and places change as they went but following the same constant motions of life. When he is not writing, Jack can be found hiking, playing with his dogs, or thinking about writing. In the future, Jack intends to write and publish more short stories.

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