Tiny White Cloud

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I looked up, towards the sky. It was a beautiful, clear day. There was only one cloud- one tiny white cloud- floating alone in the blue sky. I stared up at the sky for a long time, only focusing on that single, lonely cloud.

There was nobody else in the park. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day the park was filled with young boys and their dads throwing footballs, little girls pushing toy strollers and playing with dolls. But now the neighbors were all at home. Men were in their backyards, grilling burgers for the last time until next year. Mothers were setting the dining tables on their patios while little children washed their hands, getting ready for dinner. The park was vacant, except for me, staring up at that single cloud. It was one of the last beautiful days before winter. The sun was still visible while I was sitting in the park, glowing orange and setting lower and lower as time passed. Each time the wind blew, it brought chilly bursts of air with it. The leaves had already changed color and dried out, now beginning to fall to the ground. The rustling noise they made as the wind blew calmed me. I could hear the last few birds chirping in the almost naked trees before migrating south for the winter.

I was still staring up at the sky, looking at the lonesome cloud, before I realized someone was saying my name. She was crying. I could hear her gasping for air between her sobs. I slowly closed my eyes and sunk down into the bench in the park, letting the image of the tears running down her cheeks fill my head. Last summer when she used to cry, I had hugged her. I had softly pushed her hair away from her face, wiped her tears away with my hands, and held her close to me until she was okay. But now, as I sat on the bench in the quiet park by my house, all I could do was think of how that time had passed. I pulled the phone away from my ear; slowly closed it shut, hanging up on the sobs. I couldn't take anymore.

I kept my eyes closed for a while. The image of her crying slowly dissolved out of my mind, and all I could focus on was the one small cloud in the sky. I saw it sitting up, lonely in the blue sky. I saw it floating by, all by itself. I saw it changing shapes with hopes of impressing someone, but it was all alone. I kept focusing on the tiny cloud in my mind, when I heard my name again.

'Davey?'

This time my name wasn't coming through the static of the phone to my ear. I opened my eyes slowly, regretting what I was about to see. I sat up a little, lifting my head from the bench. It was her.

'Davey?' She said again. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face was red from crying. It looked like she had just rolled out of bed. She was waiting for me to respond, but I couldn't form any words. I couldn't force my head to nod or a smile to form in acknowledgement. All I could do was sit there, on the bench. My eyes were staring straight into hers, but I only saw the tiny white cloud. It was now sitting in her eyes, small and lonely.

'Is this the end?' she said. I didn't hear her. I didn't even notice she had spoken. She sat down next to me on the bench and kept looking at me, pretending we were making eye contact. But I was only looking at the cloud. She touched my arm, softly. She wanted to comfort me like I used to comfort her. When her hand touched the skin on my arm, it tingled. As the tingles formed at the place where her hand made contact with my arm, they erupted spontaneously, moving through my entire body. Then they slowly faded out, eventually completely disappearing, leaving my body feeling empty. When they were gone, one tiny tear began to form in the corner of my eye. It slowly grew and departed from my eye, and fell down, brushing my cheek and then disappearing just as the tingles did.

"Are you crying?" she asked me in her most comforting voice. But she was not comforting me. The tingles she had given me were not the feelings described in love stories. They were not the type of exhilarating tingles one gets while staring into the eyes of a lover. The tingles she sent up my arm landed at my heart and broke it.

She waited a few minutes for my response. I could smell burgers and hot dogs grilling on the barbeque. In between the birds chirping and the leaves rustling in the chilly wind I could hear little children and their mothers and fathers laughing while eating dinner. The sounds were calming me, keeping any more tears from falling from the corners of my eyes. My head was rested on the bench, and I was staring up at the one tiny cloud, still floating in the blue sky alone.

After a while I closed my eyes. I could feel her get up from the bench. She slowly walked away from me, out of the park. I laid down on the tiny white cloud. I was floating in the blue sky alone.





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