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Caught in the Clouds

What if the stories were real?

By Ahna LewisPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
18
Photo by Kaylee Stepkoski on Unsplash

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. At least that’s what my grandmother told me. She was full of stories, my Lita.

Lita is gone now. It’s still hard for me to talk about it. Whenever I try, I feel a knot of loss tightening in my stomach, climbing up my throat, turning my words to dust. So I write about her instead. And that brings her back, for a while anyway.

Lita had wispy gray hair styled in a loose bun at the base of her neck. Her eyes were rich and dark, like coffee before you add the creamer. She favored brightly colored dresses and hand-knit sweaters and always wore one of those plastic bonnets to keep her hair dry when it rained.

I'd often find her sitting on the floral-print couch in the living room, watching her favorite TV shows like “The Price Is Right” and “Oprah.” She had a favorite end of the couch too. It was the corner seat, closest to the reading lamp. She’d sit there every evening, pick up her newspaper from the coffee table, stare at the page for a second, realize her mistake, and reach for her reading glasses. At this point in the ritual, she’d laugh and say, “I forgot my glasses! I must be getting old!” But Lita was never old. Not once in her 87 years of life was she old.

My Lita told me all sorts of stories, but it was the story about the dancing purple clouds that was my favorite. As a child, I used to sneak out of bed and down the stairs to the blue-boxed bay window in the living room. I’d search the skies for those purple clouds. I wanted to see them sneaking across the sky, spinning and sliding to the music of the rain.

The clouds are mostly gray now, a deep, sooty gray like charcoal dust mixed with baby powder. Sometimes they are fluffy and white, squishy cotton balls of suspended water vapor. Sometimes they spread across the sky in feathery cirrus ice crystals. Sometimes there are even clouds at midnight. But they are never purple. And they never dance.

It’s been six months since the day I lost her, and for some reason, I can’t sleep. I sit up in my bed, letting my feet dangle over the edge. I watch as a circle of moonlight creeps across the carpet. It must be getting close to midnight. Should I?

It takes only a moment to decide. Though I haven’t tried since I was a child, something is pulling me there tonight. I sneak down to the living room. I’m about to head to the bay window when I notice Lita sitting at her corner of the couch.

“Look out the window, Elena,” she says, smiling. She looks at me in a way that channels the love of a million galaxies. I feel the usual knot in my stomach melt to a warm glow.

“Is it the clouds?” I ask, hopeful.

She nods.

I rush to the window, craning my neck to peer into the heavens, hoping against hope. But there’s nothing new. Just the usual gray, edging out the moon.

“Lita, there’s no purple clouds.”

“Well, that’s too bad.” She smiles and I see the lines of her face crinkle around her eyes. “I know I saw them dance.”

I walk over to the couch and curl up beside her, laying my head on her shoulder. I don’t have much time.

I look up at her, watching as she squints her eyes and stares across at the window. Suddenly, she grins.

“Ahhh,” she says the syllable long and drawn out as if she’s unlocked the secrets of the universe. “I know why the clouds looked so different tonight.” She tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, letting her hand brush against my cheek.

“I forgot my glasses!” she says, laughing. “I must be getting old.”

Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

Short Story
18

About the Creator

Ahna Lewis

Just a high school English teacher who never quite got over her dream of becoming an author. :)

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  4. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  5. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (14)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock4 months ago

    Beyond beautifully & wonderfully sweet, Ahna!

  • Roy Stevensabout a year ago

    That's powerful! Our losses begin to define us after a certain point on our journey and you've captured that feeling so well here. This line was gorgeous: 'She looks at me in a way that channels the love of a million galaxies.' Perfect! You write with wings Ahna.

  • JANE AYUabout a year ago

    A beautiful story

  • R. J. Raniabout a year ago

    Aww, this made me smile! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Invisible Writerabout a year ago

    This was so amazing I loved every word of it

  • Love This ❤️💯👍🙏

  • Adam Stanbridgeabout a year ago

    A beautiful story with excellent execution. Liked comment and subscribed. :)

  • Andrei Z.about a year ago

    Lovely story!

  • Awww, such a heartwarming story! I enjoyed this so much!

  • Shane Dobbieabout a year ago

    Excellent piece. Subscribed

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a year ago

    This was a sweet story with outstanding character development. Great job Ahna!

  • Denelsia Walkerabout a year ago

    This is beautiful. 😍😍😍

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Oh! Such an achingly beautiful take on the challenge. A strong contender for sure. ❤'d and subscribed 🤗

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    She forgot her glasses 😭❤️. This was a beautiful example of how to do this whole magical realism thing! I think I kinda get it now! 😁. I also liked how short this was and yet it still told a complete story and the characters felt very real. Beautiful!!

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