Painting the Sky

July 27, 2008
By Haley Pittman, Mckinney, TX

I’ve come to find that the stars shine the brightest at one in the morning. This is when I slip downstairs, when I sneak out the back door wearing just tights and a tank top. There’s no real reason for the escape. I simply walk out into the grass and sit quietly on a lawn chair. It’s interesting to watch the sky, to see the stars circle around the earth. So I gaze at them and let my mind wander.

A thought forms in my head…not a thought exactly but a philosophy. Why do people all believe in the same concepts and ideas? It’s an odd question, for I realize it sounds rather ignorant. Yet I ponder it for a while, as the stars rotate in the sky.

I come to a conclusion that raises further questions. People try so hard to break free from conformity, yet by doing so they become exactly what they are trying to escape; a sheep, a conformist, just another person, another speck on the world. So why do I feel like I don’t fall into that group? If nonconformists are actually conformists, what am I?

My mind absorbs that last question slowly, and I come to find that I have no answer. So I focus my thoughts back onto the stars. Space seems to be such an empty place, dark and hollow. I want to fill it.

Suddenly I see a flash of light. A purple streak has replaced the empty void between two stars. It looks a bit like a stroke of paint. A brighter streak appears on the opposite side of the sky. This one is a vibrant, lively shade of orange. The pace becomes rapid now, as the entire sky is transformed into a blend of luminous colors.

I stare at the colors for a long time, mesmerized by their beauty and mystique. I do not understand why they are there, for this is not something that happens in nature. However, each color seems to bring back some sort of memory to me. The green is the memory of every flowerbed and forest and meadow I have ever seen. The yellow is my childhood, nearly blinding in its intense luminosity. I go through each color as a flood of memories flows into my mind.

The most intriguing color however is the purple. The only memory that it brings is the question that I asked myself a few minutes ago. I believe perhaps that this is why the sky is painted with my memories. It is a message to the people of the world; it is there to show them how they can think freely. Yet why are my memories the sacred ones? Why is it that I can see the world so profoundly? I don’t feel worthy of this miracle in nature.

Maybe that’s because I’m wrong. Maybe I am just another person that wants to break free. Maybe this message in the sky is nothing more than a dream. I don’t want to believe it, but I know it’s the truth. I am nothing holy, nothing that would change the colors of space. It bothers me that the colors are still there, still mocking my life with their knowledge of it. Slowly they fade, and I convince myself that I am satisfied.

However the memory is still there. Like its own little streak of color in my mind, the memory of what has happened is with me. It won’t fade like the others did. So I am stuck with this for the rest of my life, I suppose. I am stuck with the beauty of colors. I am stuck with the potent memories that came with them. And I am stuck with a new question. What is the question in the first place? I don’t know what I’m asking; I don’t know who I’m asking either. But there is a question. And I am stuck with it.

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