"Two Minutes and Twenty-Two Seconds"
I live in a plastic package. There are lots of other packages here in the box with me. We wonder why we are here, and we wait for a long time.
Finally, I feel hands. I hear a voice say, “Ship to Portland, Oregon.” More voices say, “Cheyenne, Wyoming.” “Rexburg, Idaho.” “Excelsior Springs, Missouri.” I’m put in different box with some others like me. Our box travels to Alameda, California.
A woman opens the box. She says “The eclipse glasses came!” I wonder now what is eclipse glasses. The woman takes me out of the package. She unfolds me and puts me on her face.
“I can’t see anything with these,” she says.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to,” a man voice says. “You’re only supposed to see the sun through eclipse glasses.”
I think I am eclipse glasses.
The woman carries me outside. We look at the sun. It is very bright, but the woman is smiling big. I know this because when big smiles happen, there is a lifting of cheeks and I feel myself lift with them. She goes inside. I stay on the fridge with a magnet, in plastic with other eclipse glasses. The four of us stay there for long time. Sometimes the woman looks at us and makes a mark on the paper next to us. We watch shadows creep across floor every day, warm, then cool, then dark, many times.
One day, the woman takes us off the fridge. She smiles big and does a little dance and sings about a thing called “Fort Douglas Wyoming.” We go into a suitcase, with clothes and binoculars and maps.
When the suitcase is opened, there are two more woman voices. I go onto different faces. We look at the sun again. It is still very bright. There is more big smiling.
We sit in the car for long time. Then, the first woman—the woman from before—opens the car door. I see many other people here, too. There are many other eclipse glasses on other faces. This is a place with many cars, one small building, and a big road. A place for resting on long journey. There is food and laughing and people looking up.
The woman puts me on her face. We look at the sun. The woman puts me down again. She does this many times.
But then, the sun is different. The sun is not a whole circle like before. I can see a little bite out of the sun. The woman gasps. She says “First contact!”
The woman puts me down, puts me on her face to look at the sun, puts me down, puts me on her face to look at the sun. What is strange about this is that the sun is different every time now. The bite is bigger, and there is less sun.
A different woman talks. “The light is so eerie!” She is right. The light is different. The sun is almost gone.
Then suddenly, the sun is black. The woman takes me off her face and gasps. I hear many other gasps from the other people here.
I can see all around. The sky is not like daytime, and not like nighttime. It is most like the end of a day, with colors and shadows. There are stars even, there near where the sun should be. But the sun is most of all different. It is black, a black hole in sky, dark dark dark. But around the sun are light beams. Light beams that look like shadows, but opposite. Shadows of light. Three big light beam shadows, and many small ones.
It is strange, and feels not real. This is daytime, but light is like end of day, but even that is not quite right. It is a different light.
Then there is a bright diamond beam from the sun. The woman puts me back on her face. Her face is wet now…there is a salty wet from the woman’s eyes. She puts her hands on her cheeks, and her face is lifting me.
The sun is growing now, making it again like daytime, with no more stars. When the light is all the way like day again, the woman takes me off her face. I sit in the car. I sit in the car for many hours. I listen to the music and I listen to the voices talking.
“That was totally totally worth it,” the man voice says.
The woman voices all say yes. Yes, it was worth it.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget how that looked,” a woman voice says. “The whole thing was so strange. It feels like it couldn’t have been real.”
I feel the same way. I do not say this, because I am eclipse glasses.
I stay in the suitcase for some time. Then I live on a shelf in the woman’s house. She smiles at me some days. The sun is the same always now, shadows creeping across the floor every day, warm, then cool, then dark again.
Maybe the place where light changed was dream. Maybe it was not real when the sun became black with shadows of light. But I remember always the salty wet from woman’s eyes. That did taste real.
I stay on the shelf. I watch the shadows across the floor many times. The woman’s hair changes to grey. I live with dust and I do not look at the sun anymore.
But I am eclipse glasses. I did, one time, see a wonder.