When the Sun Goes to Sleep
I grew up around mountains. Mountains so high I would dream about jumping off of them just to see if I could fly. The snowy peaks always called to me. From the car, they looked as small as me. I wanted to climb them and sit on top and stare at the sky. Mom and I drove past the same mountains every single day. I was in the first grade and mom would pick me up at the same exact time every single day— never early, never late. We’d always take the same drive home no matter what. I’d always see the sunset at a perfect time, and my eyes filled with tears just thinking about how beautiful it was. I loved the perfection of a good sunset. It’s not ever planned, yet it’s always perfect. One day mom took a different route. And my eyebrows furrowed so hard I remember I got a headache. I asked her where we were going and she just said “a different way.” I didn’t question her. Mom was bigger. She was smarter. So I sat in the back, worried that I wouldn’t be able to see the sunset. We drove for what felt like hours in my seven-year-old brain just to end up in a field that had such a nice view of the mountains with the snow on top and the sun setting in the back. Mom, who was perfect, perfect makeup, perfect clothes, a perfect woman, calmly walked out of the car and stared at the mountain. I was trying to unbuckle my seatbelt as I heard a scream. I peeked out the window and saw my mom screaming into the abyss. I scrambled to get out of the car, to comfort my mom. She just kept screaming. Yelling at nothing. I was confused so I just held her hand. Then she started to cry and told me that her and my dad were getting a divorce. Back then, I didn’t know what divorce, infidelity, or any of that meant. I wanted to say something, but I was seven. I just stared at the perfect woman I had conjured up in my mind, to see a woman who was not so perfect. So I started to scream too. For no reason other than wanting to be there for my mom the way she was always there for me. Mom just squeezed my hand a little harder and we both screamed as the sun started to go to sleep in its most perfect way.
Alexa Joyce is an artist from Miami, Florida who is currently pursuing her BFA in Acting from AMDA College and Conservatory of Performing Arts in Hollywood, CA. You can follow her on Instagram @alexajoycex.