Short Fiction: The Sun Chasers
Posted on 23 December 2010
I wrote this over the last six hours, between making dinner, watching Hook with my kids, and tucking them in. The idea came to me this afternoon. It probably isn’t the best example of writing I’ve ever done. The genesis of this story is two-fold. One comes from a random thought I had about people who chase eternal summer. You know, they are constantly moving around so they stay in a warm climate, swapping from northern to southern hemisphere and the such. The thought came to me, what would happen if there were people who did that, but for the day itself.
The second part came from my elder son (and contains some spoilers for the story, just saying).
Over the past few nights, my eldest (who is all of four-almost-five) has been pulling my heartstrings as hard as he can at night. After we have had baths and brushed our teeth and read our story, he tried to put off the final tucking in, asking me about all these different things he is worried about. I try to assure him as much as I can, but he has, these past nights and without fail, pulled his trump. He says: “Daddy, I need you.”
How am I to answer such a thing. On the basest level, my paternal instinct swells at this. My son needs me. When I was a child, I was a horrid brat who protested to my mother that I did not need her, and I know I broke her heart on those nights that I said that, and it would break my heart to hear my son tell me that as well.
Yet, it breaks my heart to hear him plead for me to stay like this. I want my children to be independent and strong. I want them to love me, yes, and to want to spend time with me. But to need me? That is a line that I don’t know about. I do want them to need me. There is a strong part of me that identifies as “father.” And if that part was professed to not be needed, then it would lose the meaning of itself. And yet, that same father wants to not be needed. It is a conundrum that I explore in this story, and I don’t think I have really answered it. I want to think I have, but it still hurts. But, this was a piece of emotional writing. What can I say? Even if it doesn’t help me in my own internal conflicts (which I am sure will not be solved until I do learn to stop chasing the sun), then perhaps it can help you with some inner turmoil of your own.