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At the Sun
I used to be afraid of fire embers. I was scared they'd catch my hair on fire.
I was afraid of candles. The wick would wilt, the flame drooping. It didn't look like it would hold.
I was afraid of meteor showers.
"Daddy, are those fires?"
"No, they're meteors."
"Will they catch the world on fire?"
I imagined one landing in front of us, a swift crash pulling back our hair. I could see the flames, yellow and orange, bursts of light blue and violet. All of it a flickering reflection in my tiny green eyes.
I could also see it lighting my hair on fire.
"They're only as big as grains of sand."
The dust of outer space.
My sister told me there were stars even in the day time. I didn't believe her.
"The sun is just too bright, you can't see them."
I thought, the sun is so brilliant then.
I mean, in ancient times scientists thought the sun no bigger than Greece. And yet they basked in its warmth, its light illuminating the planet. How could something so little hold so much power?
I wasn't afraid of staring at the sun.
"Ellen, stop staring at it."
"It will blind you!"
I continued to gaze at the earth's lightbulb. I stared until it turned pink and then blue and green. It burned my retinas, but I never blinked.
How could something 93 million miles away
blind me? Or better yet, catch my hair on fire?
I wasn't scared.
I wasn't scared of an eternal burning star 8 light minutes away from our planet.
But I still don't like candles.