long ago, long before any of us were alive or thinking or walking or breathing, when our souls were swirls, and long before the stars and the sun had any idea of what to do with themselves, there was a couple.
this couple was so in love. the universe was an endless realm of possibility, of excitement, and of an existence with one another, and after some time, the couple decided they wanted to pass along this joy.
thus, two twin boys were born. they were alike in the ways that didn’t really matter and different in the ways that did: brown hair, big, almond eyes, soft smiles, and button noses. the one with eyes the color of the heavens on a clear day was named summer. the one with eyes the color of amber and honey was named autumn.
as they grew, summer and autumn were inseparable. their parents were wonderful and loving, but the world was starting to form in that primordial mass of energy, so they were busy setting the constellations straight and the sun on its path. all the twins had were each other.
they ran amongst the fields that their mother grew: plucked flowers from the grass, mesmerized by the colors of fuchsia and violet and everything in between. they traced their curious fingertips over soft petals and inhaled the scents of life, and they came to love this thing called earth. they splashed in the vast waters their father oversaw with his winds and breezes, and they napped in the warm sun now that it knew its way around the sky, and they giggled sleepily when the moon took its own watch, their limbs sore after days of exploring and playing.
during these times, the air was always warm–not hot, not cold, not cool, not humid. the world was a medium, a mix, a balance.
this was their childhood: all picturesque growth, dirt between their toes, hands cupped with seawater and seashells, and shooting star sightings (there were quite a few shooting stars back then, because the stars were still making their final decisions on where they would spend the next few eons and tended to bounce back and forth).
as the twins matured, so did the universe. the sun, stars, and moon developed a rhythm, taking shifts when they needed to rest. by the time the boys were no longer boys but young men, they had developed affinities for either or.
certainly, they respected both celestial bodies. the twins were raised to respect universal forces greater than themselves. regardless, summer noticed that he liked to bask in the rays of heat, while autumn preferred when the moon took longer shifts in the sky.
this didn’t change the twins’ relationship. they acknowledged preferences in other beings and shared their gifts with each other, regardless. when summer discovered he could summon a thunderhead with a wave of wet air and autumn discovered that with a flick of his wrist he could make the earth shiver, they told each other before anyone else.
variety was beautiful, natural, and needed; one only had to look at the wings of a butterfly or the thousands of different weaves of a spiderweb to see that, so they weren’t afraid.
as they grew, other couples who were just as in love as their own parents saw how happy the twins made the pair and began to have offspring of their own. by the time the twins were older, there were many others like them in body and mind but none quite so special in soul and spirit.
they were revered in their world and community: the first twins, the children of the land and the sea, the favorites of the sun and the moon.
autumn and summer never lost their humility, though, and always retained their sense of adventure. each new day brought new opportunities to learn. autumn always made summer laugh, and summer was always by autumn’s side. they challenged each other to discover, to grow that much more than the day, hour, or second before.
their gifts developed along with their bodies. soon, they began to encompass the qualities of the sun and the moon. summer was everywhere with everyone, radiating energy that was at times overwhelming but mostly refreshing. people flocked to him when he was around and longed for him when he was gone. he was buzzing and brought people together for conversation and laughter.
autumn preferred to whisper to moonbeams and study books that humans had begun to write. he found the gentle world of crickets and sleep more appealing than endless activity. he was close to only a few, and those few took quite some time to earn his trust.
summer never judged him, though. summer was always there encouraging him. when summer was surrounded by people singing his praises, he would always be the one to turn to autumn and beckon, “come here!,” and autumn would always follow.
but as is the way of the universe, change was occurring. the twins’ differences were appreciated less and less, and more and more did people turn their noses at autumn in favor of summer, and autumn slowly stopped trying to follow.
for summer’s friendliness, kindness, and adventurous, daring acts, autumn was too sharp with his words and movements: jumpy and judgmental.
for the magnetism that radiated from summer’s every move, autumn kept to himself and only shared his smile–goofy and less practiced and polished than his brother’s–with one or two others.
for the hoards that gathered around summer, autumn found himself sitting alone in the dark with a strange sense of lack and longing. he cried, sometimes, too. nothing was a balance, anymore.
before he knew it, the darkness that autumn so loved and was once so comforted by began to swallow him whole. he became obsessed.
he began to hate the sun. he shuddered at warmth. he hid under blankets and in shadows to avoid light, and when his parents and dear brother asked him what was wrong, worry etched in their skin and clouding their eyes, he would just stare.
the moon tried to calm him, whispered words of sweet patience and understanding, but he was hurt, and he was lost, and so the scariest thing to happen to any being happened to autumn: he lost all love.
in place of love was hate, anger, frustration, envy, and desperation. the nights were no longer painted silver: milky and stunning. they were painted black, and he became a void of his past self.
summer noticed, because despite his brother’s coldness, how it threatened to subdue his warmth, he loved him. he cared. he wanted to fix autumn.
he was warned to be careful, and he understood why. autumn was giving him looks: not smiles or mischievous winks like in the past but dark, dead looks. looks that hinted at such malice–or, worse, utter apathy.
but summer knew his brother wouldn’t hurt him.
no, he thought, each time he sat down at his desk in their shared space and stared out the window and held back tears and pretended not to notice how his brother wouldn’t stay in the same room with him, anymore. no, he’s my brother. i am safe.
what a pity that even the kindest of heart are sometimes misguided.
one night, the heat became too much. autumn was tired of the constant warmth, the sun, and summer winning.
so he summoned a storm like no other and swept his brother away.
the world was cast into shadows.
the life began to fade from every organism.
his parents left him, dissipating into the universe in their grief, and everyone else shrunk away in horror.
autumn was alone, but autumn had no regret…
..that was, until the cold became too much for even him to bear.
the biting air rubbed his skin raw, and he shivered until his bones ached and his nerves froze. he couldn’t sleep. the ground was hard. the moon barely arose to say hello, anymore, as if she too had become so ashamed of him she couldn’t ever again look upon his face. the world around him showed him no mercy.
and maybe the icy wind chipped away at whatever madness had settled in his head, had clogged his brain and soul, because he slowly felt his conscience creep back.
he began to miss his brother in those black nights.
but for all the missing, the wondering of “should i have…?,” autumn never cried.
he lived like this for what felt like too long, a few moon cycles before one day, he stepped foot into an old house in the woods where he and summer used to pick raspberries (the sleet pounded at his shoulders, relentless and wet, but all he could think of was that tangy sweetness). he heard a song.
along with books, humans had developed something called music. autumn and summer used to listen to them play and loved everything from lively folk songs at weddings to somber chords at funerals.
this time, though, he specifically heard a piano. a few careful keys echoed, followed by the beginning of a piece that sounded like everything he was feeling, everything that was haunting his mind when he had nothing but a candle and the empty sky to keep him company.
he peeked through to where the sound was coming from, and he saw a woman.
but unlike any woman that hovered around summer, that lived in their community what seemed like so long ago, this woman was guarded in her beauty. she was stunning like the freezing sky: hard like diamonds and stars, so rare and removed.
her fingers flowed across the keys, and the notes mingled with the patter of rain against the windows. autumn was staring, and she wasn’t noticing.
when she finished, she looked up.
they met eyes, and he expected her to turn away, to cringe, to run and curse at him like everyone else who had left him, but instead, she smiled and said her name was winter.
he smiled, too, and his cheeks ached with lack of use. the act felt horribly forced, but he also felt like he could get used to smiling, again.
so began autumn and winter’s time together.
she was cold, yes, but there was such a gorgeous grace to her as they wandered along the paths of the forest and oceans. she showed him plants with waxy leaves and the reddest berries that he hadn’t noticed before (had they even existed, before?), and he helped her collect the leaves that had fallen from the trees. they cleaned and cleared and shared together.
and after one moon cycle, something began to fall from the sky that she called snow.
it was pure white like nothing autumn had ever seen and too cold for his taste, but the occasional light fall or flutter made his cheeks flush, and he stuck out his tongue, and one day, wrapped up in the spontaneity and joy, he found himself saying,
“i think summer would like this.”
and then he was crying.
for the first time in a long, long time, nearly half a sun’s journey, autumn thought of his brother. he thought of his brother and missed him, and then he realized that he was the reason he missed his brother.
so he cried harder.
he was trying to explain to winter what happened, how he was so consumed with darkness and jealousy that he just had to prove he was stronger than summer, for once, summer with all his energy and love and warmth.
turns out, that darkness, that shift and so-called strength was too strong even for himself.
he figured he was hard to understand with all his tears and nails digging crescent marks into pale skin (he was almost as white as the snow), but winter just smiled.
she smiled like she always smiled: like she knew something autumn didn’t, like she knew something that was sure and unchangeable but ever-so-sad.
autumn looked right at her and blinked away wetness as she said, “i know.”
he said, “how?”
she said, “that’s what i’m here for. i’m going to help you–all of us–start over.”
autumn’s brow furrowed and he stepped back, and his foot sunk into a snowbank and he realized where there was once inches there was now feet, and the whiteness was piling higher and higher.
for the first time in his existence, autumn felt a pang of fear.
(he wondered if this is what his brother felt before the storm, before his end, and that caused a fresh batch of sobs.)
winter just held him, though. she gathered him into a hug and shushed him, and they laid down side-by-side.
the snow was forming a mound atop them, icy and suffocating, but winter was whispering words in his ear about “clean slates” and narrating stories of flowers and birdsong that reminded him of his childhood, pure and lovely, and so autumn wasn’t scared. he just listened to her voice, steady and soothing.
now, as he stared upward, mind filled with this thing winter called spring, he noticed that the moon had come back out to see him.
she was in the sky, gleaming through a cloud, breaking through the dark. it’s as if she was smiling, silently assuring him good job, just let go, so autumn smiled back and closed his eyes.
and for the first time in a long, long time, he fell asleep.
(all .gifs, music, and video created by me using clips provided by youtube and apple loops. thank you so much for reading and following my blog this semester! hope you enjoyed & please comment!)