- Bryce McEfee
Art by Paul Rios
I stand in the driveway, staring up toward the sky as her car drives away. The wispy ashen colored clouds saunter by in congregation, not paying any attention to me. A slight cool patter of rain rhythmically caresses my face, drowning out the tears languidly falling down my cheeks.
I’m envious. Envious of the nonchalant clouds moving on without a care. I close my eyes. I reach toward the sky wishing I could join the disinterested march. My fingertips stretched to the fullest, I grasp one and pull it down. I cradle the serene mist in my hand. I stare at its mystique with an odd sense that it is staring back. Not at my face, but through my eyes, deep within me.
A tickling sensation starts prickling at my fingertips. I move my concentrated stare from the little cloud to the tips of my fingers. My fingers start to tremble with the rhythmic beat of the rain drumming the ground around me. Without skipping a beat, my fingers turn into melodic liquid raining down to the ground as the tickling tremble flows down my arm. In its wake my body morphs into the rain. First my right arm and then my left. A stream of water washes over my glasses before they fall to the concrete driveway at my feet. I can still see. Like a reflection in the puddle my body has become, I watch as the rest of me waterfalls toward the ground. A puddle, a pair of glasses and a soaked set of clothes is all that remains where my solid self once stood. The rain stops.
The little cloud still hovers at the spot my hand once held it. Still staring in my direction, reflecting itself on me. It glides down toward my liquid form and softly lands in my puddle, slowly absorbing what’s left of my existence.
We take flight. The cold stinging sensation of higher altitude breezes through me as we ascend into the heavens to fall in line with the rest of the congregation, but we don’t follow. The rest of the clouds keep moving along around us as we float still.
Time is but a number at which I don’t know anymore. Days and nights blur together as we hover high above my driveway. I look below, watching people and cars come and go, but none is the one I long for. I begin to swell as more and more of my dark companions start to gather around. I fall. The rhythmic crashes of my essence hit the hard concrete of my driveway from where I stood once before. The rain pelts around me, leaving my puddle rippling on its own accord. As the last ripple fades out over the edge of my puddle, the rain stops and the little cloud comes down to collect me once again.
We hover, we rain. Time and time again. The clouds have moved on. One appearing every once and a while, but for the most part we float alone. Every time it rains a piece of myself is left behind. A little hope here, a little longing there, but the little cloud still hovers. I stop looking below and start concentrating within. Accepting my blame on me and me alone. Acknowledging my part for allowing entropy to take hold and flood our symbiotic realm, for allowing the dark clouds to storm in and block out the sun.
The pull of gravity strains me through the little cloud’s grasp. Droplets of me come falling to the spot I’ve fallen many times before. My essence puddling on the driveway, collecting every last drop. It stops raining. The little cloud doesn’t descend. It doesn’t come to collect me. It hovers for a few minutes and moves on with the wind.
I’m alone. This is new. As the last ripple of my puddle dissipates, a calming heat shines down on me. The sun’s rays soothing my surface, blanketing me in warmth. Acceptance sweeps over me. I feel the ground opening below. I start to seep into its porous welcome, feeling the life flow in the earth around me, absorbing it in as much as it’s absorbing me. In the distance, I hear tires move across the asphalt, getting louder and louder as they approach. I feel the anxious tremble of tires turning onto my driveway. An exhausted engine turns off. A door opens and closes. Anticipatory feet touch the ground. Quick nervous steps move toward the house’s front door, a juggling of keys reach their destination and another door opens. I open my eyes.
I look down at my hands, my feet. I am whole. I gently look in the direction of the open door. She’s standing there. Her sky blue eyes beckoning me over, her humble slight smile drawing me in. I take small steps, unsure of my ability to walk. With each step along the path my wet soles leave footprints less and less until they finally stop as I reach and walk through the door with her, hand in hand.