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Total Eclipse of the Heart

I didn’t get to see the most recent solar eclipse back in 1979. I was busy being attacked by a nest of vipers and missed the whole damn thing.

It was an ingenious trick. I was lured to my fate by an evil girl who entrapped and enslaved me.

I was in the second grade and standing outside with the rest of the elementary school on that warmish February afternoon. I didn’t know what a total eclipse was. I was seven years old and didn’t know what the hell anything was other than we got chocolate milk on Fridays after recess. I certainly didn’t understand this crazed euphoric feeling that overwhelmed me as I chased Heather Small across the playground and followed her like a dumb animal into a trap.

We had gathered outside to see the eclipse. Unsure exactly what an eclipse was, all we knew was if we looked at the sun we would immediately go blind. We all snuck looks of course, and then staggered around in the wonder of the dancing black spots on the melting snow.  

Looking at her watch, our teacher yelled at us to stand in line. She told us to turn our backs to the sun and hold our pin-hole papers up high while our partner held the target at our waists. Once we saw the glittering light on the target, we were to be still and watch for the miracle of a total solar eclipse. That’s when my partner Heather Small sprang her trap upon me.

“Wanna know a secret?” she asked.

I shook my head no, staring at the paper target she held. I didn’t like girls. They were smelly weirdos who hung out in the double slide fort playing dumb games no one understood.

“It’s about the eclipse.” she said, licking her lips.

“OK.” I shrugged.

“You have to lean forward so I can whisper it in your ear. It’s a secret.”

I rolled my eyes but obediently tilted my head forward and turned my ear to her. When she leaned in I could smell the strawberry lip gloss and feel her hot breath on my neck.

“The eclipse is when the moon eats the sun,” she said.

“What?!” I turned to her in disbelief.

She kissed me right on the mouth and shrieked like a wild animal. All the blood pulsed through my neck into my face. Heather Small laughed and ran. I didn’t know what else to do so I chased her. She was fast and I couldn’t catch up with her. She climbed up into the double slide which was built to look like a frontier fort made of logs. I followed her up and inside the fort. It was dark and getting darker as the eclipse started.

Going from the snow covered outside to almost darkness, I was mostly blind. I heard the laughter of more girls as they all jumped on top of me and began kissing my face repeatedly. For a moment I felt like I was the entire playground full of kissing and screams and laughter.

The girls escaped down the slides and I was left on the floor, my face smeared with spit and lipgloss. I lay there in darkness, my heart pounding in my ears. The blood rushing as I tried to comprehend what had happened.

My eyes slowly adjusted and it seemed to be getting brighter inside the slide. I sat up and my head swam. I crawled towards the slide, which was glowing brighter by the second. Down I went, born into a world of blinding light.

I hit the ground with a thud the snow burned my hot face. I stood up, unsteady on my feet. White and black spots danced before me until everything came back into focus. I slowly walked back to join the rest of the class. The eclipse was over.

The moon had eaten the sun.

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Schweinderl