I was only four-years-old when I first met the rug of black sun.
My parents came across it somehow and decided to take it home, thinking that it would fill our living room with a sense of intercontinental culture.
It was a simple rug, one with a striped pattern in both horizontal and vertical directions. The horizontal stripes were colored a dark brown, and the vertical stripes were simply white. Triangles, squares, and circles found themselves littered across the rug, each of varying size and shades of grey.
Such an accessory would definitely make one’s family glow with culture, the type of culture that let others know that the owners of such a rug had traveled throughout the world and picked out that specific rug because of its rarity and worth.
Truth be told, my parents just found the old rug lying somewhere in a bodega, collecting dust and providing sustenance for a family of moths, but the rug of black sun was in surprisingly good shape for a piece of wool that was treated as nothing more than trash on sale for 8,000 sucres. My father, being the genius businessman that he claimed to be, got it for only 5,000 sucres, a little less than a dollar at the time.
And so the rug of black sun came into my house, prominently hung in a glass frame as though it were one of Picasso’s lost masterpieces.
My parents called my two older brothers and me to admire their latest acquisition, but my reaction was different from my brothers’. Both of them looked at it with unimpressed eyes as though they were already accustomed to the trivial purchases of our parents, realizing that the rug was just a passing trend that would soon be replaced by another impulse buy from another roofless bodega.
On the other hand, my eyes widened and tears began to fall. The horrifying rug brought about the greatest sense of fear in me, greater than the fear I would feel inside the hole I was destined to fall in, the airplane that would carry me to a new continent, or the people who would mock me for the color of my skin.
I screamed and yelled, knowing that the rug would steal my soul if I kept looking at it for even a single second longer, so I ran away to my room.
As I dried my tears, the image of the rug burned itself into my memory, and I realized exactly what had caused all those tears and all those screams to come out of me.
What I feared was not the brown and white stripes, nor the little, grey shapes that filled the rug.
What I feared was the black circle in the center of the rug, a circle with a smiling face—created by two, white, doughnut-shape eyes and a white smile. That smiling face was like an eclipse, a bringer of death that brought destruction onto those who dared to look at it for even a second.
My living room became a forbidden place, one that needed to be avoided at all times. Every day, I would dash across the room that housed the rug of black sun, making sure that its eyes would never land on me as I imagined myself running so fast that I would appear as nothing more than a blur.
“Damn. I almost caught him,” the rug would say.
Although my parents were frustrated by the inconvenience of my reaction to the rug, they never took it down. It went together with the ambience of the room much too well.
And then one night, the rug of black sun came knocking at my bedroom door.
“Let me in,” he asked in a deep baritone. “Let me inside.”
“No,” I yelled as I hid beneath my sheets. “Go away.”
“I won’t. Can’t you see what I am,” he asked. “Can’t you see what I really am? You keep calling me the rug of black sun, but you’re wrong. I’m not a rug. I’m a blanket.”
“You’re a rug,” I replied. “You’re a liar and a rug.”
“You hide underneath your sheets to protect you, but they can’t protect you. Only I can protect you. So let me in. Let me lie there with you and protect you from the real monsters. You can hide in me, and I will destroy anything that gets near you.”
I began to cry as the rug continued to knock at my door, and then his knocking turned into a rhythm, a drum, for his song that would be sung every night until my next birthday.
“Don’t you dare hide from me,” he sang. “I will protect you, always. If I wanted to, I could crawl through this door. Am I a blanket or a rug? There’s only one way to know. So let me in and embrace me. Then you’ll know what I am. Am I a blanket or a rug? There’s only one way to know. Don’t you dare hide from me, and always remember. I will protect you, always.”