i’ll be the sun if you’ll be the moon
By Basmala Zyada
A piece born of a sudden Tuesday afternoon musing about self-identity and all its ridiculous, frustrating incomprehensibilities.
The room is bathed in sunny gold. It drapes and settles like silk—across the tiled floors, over the gilded archways, up to reach the high ceilings and the tinkling glass of the chandeliers. In the midst of it all sits Moon and her reflection.
When Moon looks down at herself, she is a blurry mass of silver-streaked gray. When she looks at her reflection in the mirror, she sees, clear as day, a smiling face, pretty eyes, raven hair. She blinks and her reflection changes; she sees sharp teeth, narrowed pupils, arched brows, a face that is beautiful in the way a devil’s might be. Each time she blinks, the reflection shifts, time and time again without fail. The brightness of the room’s yellowy glow wanes and waxes. Moon is tired.
Unbeknownst to Moon, in the other room, Sun is growing small and frail. Her hopes hang on the golden light she emits reaching Moon’s room and guiding her here. Sun spares none of her own light for herself and so her room is dim; bits of dust hang in a faint beam of light, suspended midair like stars. She feels like a drooping flower in the shade, stem bent low to the ground, left to stagnate and wither slowly away. She doesn’t know how much longer she can hold on.
“Moon,” she says, though she knows no one wants to hear her or knows how to. “I do not think you will ever know how to find me.”
Sun does not know what she looks like. She wonders about the mirror in Moon’s room, wonders what kind of reflection she would see. She wonders if it is one worth seeing. She wonders if her reflection would look different when she stands next to Moon. What does it look like when a midday moon and an afternoon sun meet in the same sky?
In her golden room, Moon is frightened. The devil in the mirror, in all its terrifying loveliness, will not go away no matter how many times she blinks or looks away. The room around her is coming apart: The chandelier has crashed to the floor, the tiles of the floor are cracked down the middle, black rot crawls up the gilded archways. The golden glow flickers and dims. Moon does not notice. The devil grins and demands to be seen.
Moon closes her eyes and decides she will never open them again. Sun opens her eyes and wonders what color the sky becomes when there is an eclipse.
This piece was the product of two things coinciding: one, thinking of the Girls Write Now performance coming up and two, watching a show with the sun-and-moon couple pairing which is a trope I absolutely adore. I started thinking deeper about the idea of the sun-and-moon and really wanted to incorporate it into my work for the live performance. So I thought of the idea of the sun and moon being narrative foils, opposing reflections of each other. I pursued that line of thinking further and further, tying it in with the idea of identity and self-perception, and I followed that train of thought to its end and ended up with this piece.
Basmala Zyada is an Egyptian-born high school senior (with a terrible case of senioritis) and a Girls Write Now mentee. She is a lover of naps, ridiculous earrings, true crime shows, and big houseplants. She can usually be found procrastinating, reading, making bad financial decisions at a thrift store, and over-analyzing her favorite shows. Although her favorite genre is fantasy, she is a sucker for writing romantic short stories and the occasional psychological thriller.