Orange Clouds

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“This isn’t very fair.”
I looked over at him as he stared out over the wooden fence. The fence that my cat Marcy had crawled under, the fence that had to be stained every summer, the fence William and I would jump, because my father refused to put in a door.
“There’s no need to state the oblivious,” he said.
“There’s no need to be an jerk,” I mumbled, but he heard. He always did.
Looking over at me he smiled. This was the cockiness that got him in trouble his whole life.
“How many days are left?” He knew I was counting.
“Four.”
“Well four days is a long time. How many hours is that?”
“Ninety six.”
The grass was already dry this time in Nevada. It scratched my bare legs and caused me to move my legs and repeatedly itch the same spot under your thigh over and over. The hot heat thickened with the hours passed, and soon it would be too much to even walk out to your car.
I hated how he tried to make things better. They would never better.
“I don’t know why you’re going to waste our last ninety six hours acting like I’ll never see you again.”
I shot him a look. Why would he even say that? Even with the stained fence as a barricade from the wind, the gravel path had caused a dust storm. An orange cloud moved toward my house.

That orange cloud moved slowly touching every inch of my yard, sweeping over the petals of daisies that grew along the fence. It was our old bed sheet being thrown over the yard to preserve it for when William and I come back in the winter.

“You’re not going to forget me when you go to school, are you?”

My brown eyebrows move inward as I stared at him. I’d like to say I was squinting because the four in the afternoon sun was in my eyes, but I knew that droplets of water were forming at the corners of my eyes.

“You were always such a silly girl,” he laughed ignoring my question.
His arm reached out from holding him up and his fingers ruffled my brown hair. I quickly ducked out from under his hand and stared at the tall oak tree that consumed half of my backyard, the eighteen year old tree that had grown up with me. Long, thick branches grew in every direction shading my yard, and blocking the UV rays from damaging our skin. I say in a limp style with my head rested on top of my left shoulder.
“You do know,” I started as I turned back to look at William’s tan boyish face. “We’re going to sleep half of those ninety six hours, right?”

His face contorted into pure confusion. His nose scrunched up into his eyes causing him to squint like me, but then a gust of air was released from his body, and his face relaxed.

“You always have to make things seem horrible. Why can’t these last days be exciting? We’re going to college! It’s supposed to be great.”

His voice seemed to raise an octave with each sentence. The muscles in my jaw pulled my lips downward when a wave of shock exploded in my mind.

“You’re excited to leave and never see me again?”

He was no longer the William I grew up with. Not the boy who would chuck rocks into Lake Michigan when our parents on picnics. He was not the boy who slept in the back of class when college reps came to talk to us.
“I am excited to go, but we’ll see each other.”
His face was still and non-emotional. His jaw line set in stone, and his eyes staring at me waiting. I broke away from his stare and saw the orange dust that lay delicately on the petals of daisies, tainting them to a pale orange. The wind picked up again and soon the orange dust was on top of everything once again.
I raised my right hand and protected my eyes from the sun. My eyelids relaxed and the wind slowed down. I looked down at my bare toes and saw the specks of ground up orange rocks resting on the tips of each toe. Too lazy, and not really caring, I left the dust to rest on my feet. My eyes returned to William as I watched him sit up right, and the stand. He pulled his shirt away from his chest and then let it go causing a whole new orange cloud to burst off of him. He quickly ran his hands down the front of his shorts trying to sweep any access dust off.

“I think I should maybe go.”





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