When the Sun Sets

by Kayla Miller

tumbleweed sm

“Don’t remember me,” I said to each of them, “I surely won’t remember you.”

But I lied. My life as a tumbleweed left no space, even in a deserted place, for people like them. They flowed together like waterfalls but their vessels never strayed from a permanent home. Their limbs glued to friends and neighbors, branches with deep roots that rarely collided with other trees.

I am another being. Born on the back of a caravan, I staged fiery dances into uncharted territories, and it was common for me to trap a branch or two by the tales of my crystal ball. I told them: I have sailed the vast sea and seen exotic paradises; I have lived in dangerous caves inhabited by free-spirited nomads like me.

But I lied. The closest thing to a cave I have ever dwelled in is a local tavern with some cold whiskey sours. I settled down in places that were replicas of the last. Not to mention all the human doppelgangers I fell into step with, out of comfort and familiarity. I have met a dozen or more long-term individuals, and everyone I called stranger they called family. After a while I must have accumulated a distinct scent because they called me ‘fresh blood,’ and by the look of my skin and eye, they knew I was short-term.

I cried. I never felt like I belonged and there was no way I could. I succumbed to my nature and I refused to admit that I wished to be like them; to live an ordinary life where the strangers were never strangers and the mountains stayed still and never changed colors. Over time, I realized it was too late to ever be one of them because I was some mutated freak. Long ago my heart was fostered to move by the swift seasons, and eventually, my mind conditioned itself to dream of outer space, since it is the only place I have never been and a place I will surely never go.

I cried. My mind had erased the places and the faces, but my soul was stamped with a thousand emotions and experiences; inked with an undying thirst for solidity and decayed by solitude; poisoned by the velocity of time and overcome with the need to adventure a twilight of commitment.

“Is there anything for me?” I questioned.

And I sighed. I clung to the ones I love: my mother and my brother. They were the only ones who stayed by my side and never left. They were home. To love anyone else was to suffer through an inescapable homesickness once it came time to depart. Then I realized that there is no permanency with family either. The sun always sets. When life comes to a curtain close and my family decides to part this life, I will be left alone on stage. Unless, of course, I go first. I will no longer have a home. Then I will truly be sick. Sick with scorn. Sick with spite. Sick with myself for conforming to a temporary life.

And I sigh. Nobody could possibly understand the burden a gypsy holds or the heavy payment that awaits us at the toll bridge. Living in the past and in search of a permanent future, even though we will never have one. Knowing that everyone I know, knew me and has forgotten about me as I told them to. That is when an empty hunger rises from the black hole that is me. Suddenly, I want to consume every piece of life, every piece of them, lock it up, and wait for the end.

“Remember me,” I say to them now, “I’ll be there when the sun sets.”


Category: Fiction, Short Story, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student