The Personalities in the Clouds

February 19, 2011
Once upon a time, as many stories start, before the dark ages when my story began, years before our family was shaped and ripped at the seams, she had a gift that was to become her legacy in my life, a gift that was borne from the simple tip of a pencil on the canvas of an old parchment.

My memories of her now are overlaid with so much pain and doubt that the littering of joy and peace barely leave a mark, but when we finally stepped over the edge and said goodbye for what might have been forever, the image of her I always saw was not of her pain or even of the few moments I long to relive, but a simple piece of paper I found on a lonely night many years ago.
It really wasn’t much; just a wrinkled piece of parchment stuffed in the bottom of a drawer, but laid out flat and you could make out a rough drawing of a storm on the open sea with glassy waves tossed into the air by a savage wind. Even in its unfinished state it was so realistic and so filled with emotion that I stood gawking at the name at the bottom that proved it was my mother’s work. Oddly what struck me even more was the velvety clouds perched on the horizon that stood out so starkly from the rest of the picture, with a calm elegance and innocence that completely altered the message of the picture and eerily made it strike something inside me.

Many years later after the brunt of the storm in my life had passed, and hers was on the road to repair we walked together as mother and daughter for the first time I could remember, me as a girl becoming a woman, marred with scars from an unfair beginning, and her as a seasoned veteran in a world of secrets and sorrow. It was the dirty old path that led to where her story began that we walked on that day, where a boy stole the first kiss from her lips and ended up stealing her heart, the boy in fact, who would later become my father.

My eyes were drawn to her face where the rain was catching on her cheeks as it fell, almost like tears. As we spoke we talked not of our struggles or what had happened to our lives, but instead of her talents with a pencil and the secrets of her work. She told me of the clouds with their infinite personalities and her fascination with capturing them. I remembered the drawing I had seen so long ago, and I think I started understanding it then, what I really felt about the personalities of her clouds… I can feel it in the deep pools of her blue eyes that mirror my own.
I know how it feels to wrestle though life as a cloud, ever changing with circumstance but ever a cloud all the same. It’s the sisterhood we will always share no matter where life takes us.
I gazed up at the clouds drifting above our heads, velvety white on the horizon and decided that it’s not too bad to be a cloud after all as long as I can learn to fly again each time a storm passes.

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