Cary Halliburton

Sun Gazer

Hey, yeah, I know. It’s because my phone was off.

Well, I just needed to – disconnect for a while, you know?

Of course I went. I said I was going to go no matter what, whether you –

Just me, myself and I – we had a splendid time.

Yeah, I’m glad I went. Music festivals always have this magical feeling about them. Something about everyone hearing music all in the same wave. You know?

Actually, yeah. Yeah, I did smoke. It was good, potent stuff too. Like, I could have sworn all of Randall’s island had levitated out of the East River. Especially while the sun was setting and everything had this glow – the little hues of orange on the crowd, the guitar strings flashing white, the sky all pink and all. There was something cosmic about it.

I know – I know I said I wasn’t going to smoke, but I did.

Yeah, I guess. I know I shouldn’t have, but it wasn’t until later that I really thought about it much.

Well, actually, I was waiting at the station. And I was still, well – I was still pretty high. I mean, I couldn’t tell if I was swaying or sitting still. I’d taken a seat on the stairs – you know how Penn Station gets with all those people standing around under those TV screens watching for the platform numbers to show. And there’s this woman sitting next to me.

Yeah, on the staircase. She had this fresh look about her – like she’d just gotten a haircut. Somehow we’re talking. So, you know, I offer her a joint – because why not – and she says, no thanks. And I’m like, oh, why not? Then she starts telling me that if she smokes, she’ll want to drink after and she can’t ‘cause she’s a recovering alcoholic and fighting depression and something about a divorce and I’m like, oh shit. So I’m apologizing, and she’s all sweet, saying, oh, I’m doing better now, feeling positive. Then she asks me: have you ever heard of sun gazing? She tells me it’s a meditative thing. You go outside and you just – gaze at the sun. Sunrise or sunset.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Like – wouldn’t your vision get all bleary? Wouldn’t you go blind? She said if you tried to sun gaze midday, you would, but at dusk or dawn – no problem, somehow.

Well, then she was saying some really crazy stuff. Like, it can heal you. Heal you. And you don’t get so hungry for certain things – the temptation isn’t even there. Stimulates that part of the brain, what is it, the pineal gland? And I’m sitting there, high out of my mind, and I’m like – is this even real? And my train arrives, and I get up and she’s thanking me – for listening, I guess? I don’t remember what I said but I hurry on the train and at some point – I don’t know when – I fall asleep. And I had this dream, but I don’t know if I want to talk about it.

No, not a nightmare or anything, just –

Well, I just don’t think you’d like hearing it.

I know it’s just a dream, but still.

Well, okay then. So, I had this dream and this woman was in it.

From the train station, yeah. And we’re lying on the beach on the sand – and she’s naked. And then I realize I’m naked too, and the sky is this soft blue and the ocean waves are dark and the sun has just set – it’s beyond the sea. And we’re lying there in the sand and she’s smiling at me and I look into her eyes – she had these deep brown eyes – but inside her eyes there’s this glimmer.

Yeah, in that dark pupil part. And there’s this glow and I can see all the colors. I mean, the whole light spectrum was in her eyes. And she’s holding me in her arms and I, well, I kiss her forehead. I kiss it and there’s this tenderness and she sighs. And there’s this pulse. I feel it on my lips – this pulsing…

Then I hear this voice saying – ma’am, this is the end of the line and you need to get off. I wake up and I realize it’s the conductor and he kicks me off the train…

So, yeah. Here I am: sitting on the curb, waiting for my taxi to show. I just, I had to tell you about –

Oh don’t worry. I feel fine.

Yeah. I’m sober now. Sure.

Of course I’m not lost.

Yes. I’ll be home soon.

Really, darling – I’m fine.

Yes. Everything’s fine. We’re fine. Please don’t worry.

I need to go. The cab is pulling up now. I see the headlights.




Cary Halliburton is an aspiring writer. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish from Muhlenberg College and spent 2015 teaching English as a foreign language in Cuenca, Ecuador. She currently lives in New Jersey. This is her first publication.