Cloud Formations

She had been walking aimlessly, following the crowd for most of the day, with her eyes in the shop windows and her head in her ass.

He was just standing in the middle of the sidewalk staring up at the sky.

She could see others looking up in the same way, following his eyes, as they passed him or jostled him – according to how they felt about snags and catches. She looked at him instead. Walked towards him. Stopped in front of him. Stared at his face. Did she know him? No. Did she want to? She felt like, of the eight and a half million people in New York, she was the only one who saw him as a lover could.

He turned to face her, smiled, and she moved into his apartment within days.

Being in love takes you by surprise. The handholds suddenly disappear. Feet seem connected to nothing in particular. The mind is awhirl in a sacred space and only he and she (and she and he) seem(ed) to matter. Only their movement across the spaces of a suddenly empty world made sense.

If love were an insect, it would be a wasp – oblivious to all but the source of sweetness before it, yet fierce if threatened – willing to wage war on who would come between. How strange that, in time, love itself should become the in-between thing.

Of the ten basic cloud types, only one can survive at all levels of the weather system; it seems that two is more than the world can bear. Right at the top, the air is thin and the world serene. Looking down from six miles up, detail is all but absent, colours are gone to two, and war is a faded handkerchief.

One cold shoulder and the rain begins to fall. A moist cheek is not the only means of seeing that his heart has found another place to dwell. His friends begin to know more that she does and they won’t tell unless they feel the need to hurt her. But they don’t want to do that. Closer to the ground, the world looks like apple pie with more than one bite taken from it.

Slanting down like rain. Feeling to hit the ground and crash and smash into more than one and less than two. A residue of his touch. An extra weight in the heart. And yet still too small, too insignificant to bounce. Who is wet and who is dry is simply a case of who comes home subsequent to another indifferent day at work. Yet how can we say that the world is cruel and heartless? We are as much a part of the muddy puddle as the 8,500,002 people in the city of New York.

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13 thoughts on “Cloud Formations

  1. I just read yesterday that the best prose reads sort of like poetry and I think this is a beautiful example of that. There are so many lines I could pick out as being particularly lovely. Maybe my favorite is:
    “Feeling to hit the ground and crash and smash into more than one and less than two.”
    Exactly.

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  2. One cold shoulder and the rain begins to fall… The sleet a wash of regret, perhaps a mist of shame at the quickness. She watched outside herself, towards where the towers once stood, from her island–a lesser borough–disconnected from the subway line. Behind her, the fort stood, the battery at her back. There would be no going to them for comfort. Only the bridge beckoned…
    I used to live on Fort Wadsworth (Staten Island) as a child. Your wonderfully poetic prose brought some of New York back to me. The view from the battery, with the Verrazano-Narrows bridge looming ahead was one I loved.

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