When I was a child, between the ages of six and eight, I remember trying to stare at the sun. My mom and grandma Ita, told me, "Don't stare at the sun, you'll go blind!" But still, I tried to stare.
I stared through warm red flesh tinted eyelids. They trembled as I tried not to open them against the sun's heat, knowing if I did I would squint and my eyes would water.
I stared on cloudy days as the sun's arms poked in and around light gray puffs of teasing rain clouds.
I stared as close as could on cloudless days until my eyes stung and watered from the brightness. The small muscles around my eyes contracted into one another as if hugging my eye in protection.
"Mom, I can look at the sun with sunglasses on!"
"No you can't! You'll go blind!" she said exasperated.
I stared through tinted sunglasses but tried to look in and around the brightest spot, well, because I didn't want to go blind, but I wanted to see the sun. This big mysterious thing in the sky that warmed my skin and made me hate it later in the summers as beads of sweat formed across the tan bridge of my nose and upper lip.
Mostly though, I remember lying back on the denser parts of El Paso park crab grass, or against the cool concrete of my Ita's porch, and closing my eyes. I tried to imagine the sun through my reddish eyelids; round, warm, it's rays of light soft as they hugged me.