Cloud Gates


christopher troy

The day she left, no tears fell.

It was a sun-dried morning, the clouds having retreated hours before in an act of diffidence… but not completely. They hung low over the jagged skyline, peeking sheepishly through the unguarded spaces between buildings, curious to see if I would keep my promise. They looked on like children, wondering if the silence between us could only mean the end. The faithful wind kept the more curious of the bunch from climbing too high and obstructing the sun’s view of our certain farewell. I answered them with empty eyes, as if to say: “I have no answers or reasons.”

Confusion turned into contempt.

As I brought my head back down, I suddenly noticed the swarm of people around us. Only moments before, they were nowhere to be found. And now, they were here, all around us, all of them, jumping out of the corners of my eyes. But to them, we were obstacles along their morning path, entranced by the ante meridian din and the recycled promises of the day. Their purposeful gaits left them blurred and faceless as they droned past us. I returned the rebuke, and they quickly vanished.

Contempt melted into sorrow.

Without realizing I had prepared for this scene in my daydreams for months under different settings: some lush and sylvan, others dry and sparse, all sharing a melancholic chorus like the kind angels must sing before the death of child. I stood coldly in front of her wondering if she had similar dreams as I looked through her —past her— and into a future without her. I stopped wondering. She was becoming translucent, only a faint outline remained barely strong enough to hold in the memories. Her name was beginning to escape me.

Sorrow petrified into calm.

Before I could walk away in silence, she did. Her courage took me by surprise with its swiftness, slicing through me like a sword that had been heated in smoldering anger. The motion so precise and practiced, it had me wondering again: “Was she having the same day dreams? Did we wait too long to wake up? Will she forget me?”

As I lay there, in a lonely pool of pride, clutching my stomach and watching her not look back, I caught a glimpse of a cloud-covered sky, red with embarrassment, but no sign of rain.

– Christopher Troy

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