May 14, 2008
By Corinne Herman, Camarillo, CA

He popped up in my dreams, the boy I forgot. Sudden and sure as the day he appeared, dropped from the wind like a flake of snow. Blue eyes like water, like rain. His straight, white smile, name the color of the sky, everything and nothing swept away into one.

He wasn’t mine, the boy with the name like the sky, with brushed, snipped hair standing soldier-straight in a row. Not mine to whisper hot secrets to and fall on when the journey stretched far ahead. Not mine to laugh with at the sun and talk with about how fast the earth moved or how many stars lived in the sky or if the world was for us. I thought it was love, the pull between eyes, blue like his name, and neat black hair. But he could not be mine. He was no one’s.

No one’s but the silent hand that pulled him down that day, pushed him onto the concrete to make him listen. No one’s but the strings that were pulled to make his arms and legs flail like a worm in the sun. No one’s but the soul that hid behind the clouds and left his body as the children nervous-laughed at his squirming dance against the concrete. Not mine, not for me, who shed fat tears as the others giggled at the way his sky-blue eyes rolled like cue balls in a fight against what we could not see.

They called it a seizure, this battle he had against his demons and the hand that held him down as the sky watched. They said epilepsy, a diagnosis altered like a skirt too wide to fit the hips of his actions. They looked in his sky blue eyes and said yes, flickers of the brain. No demons, not strings and invisible hands and a soul that hid in the clouds. They looked at him, wide smile, shoulders strong against the storm and spoke the easiest words, not the truth that his soul whispered on the wind as it hid behind the clouds.

I thought he was mine. Bright blue eyes held secrets that the world would not see, eyes deeper than the color of his name. I could see the torn pages of his story at the bottom of those deep eyes, smelled the way his pain tinted the clouds pink. He was property of his secrets, servant of his demons. I took his arm and prodded and poked, asked the boy who dropped to my life what bound him like chains. But his smile was his shield, a cape that whisked me off my feet and made me believe he was mine. Mine and mine alone.

I thought he was for me. He fooled and tricked, patched the world’s wounds as he fought his own. The secret pain, the demons stayed invisible to me. Inside, they knew that seizure and epilepsy were only words made to fit and fool. He belonged to them, his whipping memories and enslaving demons. That day beneath the laughing sky, they fought, pushed him to the concrete in a battle he could not win. Pulled strings to make his body whip and dance. Chased his soul behind the clouds, made his sky blue eyes hide in his head.

The memories were the only things that could catch him and make him listen. The only things his smile could not scare. The only thing that owned him. We saw only rolling eyes and whipping limbs when he truly remembered, not the memories or the demons or the way the sky laughed at the boy that shared its name. Demons in the form of men with hot hands, men who touched and took and never paid their dues. The men who made his eyes deeper than his name, who gave him the nightmares that made the sky laugh. The only ones he could ever belong to.

And just as his pain reached my nose and I could almost see the bottom of those blue eyes and read his story, the son of the sky disappeared. He left one day, quick as he had came, before what was invisible could become seen. This boy who was mine but could never be mine, he left before the last months melted off of the year like wax under flame. Back to the place he had blown in from, back to where we could not see and could not ask.

He left those who thought he was theirs, left to the only thing that could move him from his smile and broad shoulders. He left, without us knowing who he was or the demons he fought. Left us with only the colors of his name and the laughter of the sky.

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