Droopy Yellow Clouds

Downstairs, a bellicose toddler yells for his mother’s attention. Once, twice. Then a shriek. Finally, she responds. He’s already learned that’s how the world works. To get her attention, yell, yell some more. And then shriek. Then she’ll focus on you. It’s a house of old and young yellers.

It’s dark outside. A yellow-hued light illuminates my room; my monitor, my face and hands. It’s quiet, save for that yelling extending out and up. It’s night time. He should be in bed by now. When I was young, I didn’t have an option; my brother and I were put to bed early by our parents. Late last week, I saw him for the first time in a few months. I visited him in Boston for his birthday. It’s the second time I took the trip up to his for birthday celebrations; third time in general.

Each visit, I had the same thoughts. Buses are dreadful. But it’s redeeming to be able to stare out the window. In one four hour road trip, you end up seeing more nature than you can come across in a whole year in the city. Then, you finally realize your hunger — what you couldn’t stuff no matter the urban stimulant. No sweetener, no seasoning, no drink, no temperature, no company across from you, and no accompanying tunes. Nothing helps us find this satiety. We can’t fill these needs the way we mask the rotten rest of them. Till we abandon our menu and denounce the chef. I denounced during the whole route, my eyes feasting as we passed through decades of collective existence with each of their blinks. An exhausted toddler processing a whole new world, I took a break only for naps.

With evenings, summer is as lenient as winter strict. Once my bus and train settled in, I had light to sit in the grass and write. After getting cozy, my pen wrestled with the rain for impacts on my page. A perfect rain drop is a near myth. In order to fall, each one needs an impurity — a piece of dirt, of soot, inside.

When we crave absolution, thirsting for a storm to clean us of the day’s filth and of our missteps, we’ll only be washed by imperfections. Let us embrace those in ourselves and in our journals then. We resolve to let the drops and dirt fall, leaving behind confessions in their own braille betwixt our trepidatious chicken scratch.

After cleaning our dinner plates, we walked to his place and sat in the living room. The windows overlooked shorter houses, so we saw out to bits of the horizon. We still had remnants of the day. The droopy clouds took to cleaning out the remaining rays, meeting to shed their stoic white and gasp orange, yellow, and red.

Our work demands contrast in order to be recognized. With the sun out, our lights are meager orange. Come dark, we’ve found that we’ve made gold. Illuminated by our alchemy, the world we see is Midas’ hue.

I was still a refugee from the city, diffused and polluted, and gently pleaded to keep our lamps off. We sat, living and reminiscing as the room emptied of light. Slowly, in drips and drops. It was a familiar fade; I drank it outdoors before. When our view turned gray and blue, my eyes twinkled, drawing in flashes for the missing fireflies. These were their colors. This was their time.

We fought our natural instinct to flip switches, to protect us from the night and its terrors. It’s easier today to make good on those primeval stirrings.

For the first time, we didn’t let the walls that enclosed us also separate us from the rest. We were what the rest was; ephemeral. Cyclical. Powerless. The evening’s tree static swayed and muted everything. In the absence, the first star sang, “Come dark, come down, calm down, I’m here.”

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