"Mama, can you eat the sun?" eight-year-old Hunter said in between his sloppy chewing of his sugary, morning breakfast cereal.
His mother, a tired woman with heavy, dark circles under her eyes, sighed and gave a tired and sad smile.
"Of course not, Hunter. That's impossible. It's so far away, honey." she tried to reason.
"And it would be really hot, wouldn't it?" he spat out bits of half-chewed cereal.
"Yes. Something so far away has to be really hot to keep us warm."
Hunter nodded. It made perfect sense, but that didn't stop him from being curious to the sun's taste.
"I bet it'll taste like soup fresh off the stove when I don't blow it cold." he tried to explain as his mother cleared the kitchen table of their breakfast.
"I don't know, baby. I never tried to eat the sun. When you get home maybe we can bake some sun cookies and you can eat those." his mother yawned. "Grandma will help."
Hunter grinned. He was happy that his mother was finally back to normal. Days of crying and sleeping was never fun. And he didn't like constantly having to spend the night at grandma's. She always made him say bedtime prayers. It was like an everyday Christmas wish except he couldn't ask for toys or pets. Instead he just asked to go home. It took a lot of asking but eventually his prayer of wanting to have a happy family with his mom was granted.
"Mama said you can't eat the sun." Hunter said to his dad as he rode in the old rusted pickup that was missing windshield wipers and had a door that couldn't be opened from the outside.
"She's right. The sun is nothin' but fire. You'd get toasted up." his father responded, the smell of cigarette smoke on his breath wafted into Hunter's nostrils and made him cough and exhale loudly through his nose to stop the uncomfortable tingling.
"What would it taste like?" Hunter asked innocently. His father was a very smart man, he would know.
"Probably like the hottest pepper you can imagine. But no milk to make the heat go away."
Hunter nodded, staring up at the sky and wincing as the light blinded him. Hunter raised his hand to shield his eyes.
The sun was about the size of his thumb. The sun: the size of a pepper and just as hot as one...
"Nuh uh! The sun probably tastes like laser beams!" Hunter's friend Carlos shouted, holding his mouth open with his head thrown back to feel the heat on the inside of his mouth.
"Superman can eat the sun!" another boy whose name Hunter could never remember shouted.
"Nuh uh! It's too big and too hot!" Hunter and Carlos argued.
"Not for Superman!"
And when Hunter asked his teacher Mrs. Louis-Watts, it only incited a class lesson on the Solar System. She didn't help him either.
"The sun is omnipotent just like God. You don't want to eat God, do you? Why would you eat the sun?"
And Hunter did not try to argue with his grandmother on that one.
Once making it home, Hunter walked into he and his mother's tiny trailer to tell his mother about how it takes eight minutes for light to make it to earth and how it's stupid to think Superman can eat the sun and to ask why it's okay to eat the body of God's son but not God Himself.
He stepped over dirty laundry that was sorted and ready for the wash. And he let his backpack fall in the hall as he hurried to his mother's room.
Mrs. Louis-Watts said the sun was made up of millions of explosions happening at once. That is how the earth stays warm. Superman can survive explosions and God was in Heaven which was close to the sun. The blood on the walls resembled an explosion, millions of them like his mother had swallowed the sun whole and become it. She had done it just for him to tell him how it tasted. It probably tasted like steel, just like the barrel that was lodged in her mouth.
And outside, the clouds blew overhead and shrouded the earth in shade.