Short Story: Clouds

“A smile!”

“A heart!”

“A ring!”

“A warty troll with a top hat and a bird on its nose!”

She sat up and put her face over mine, eyebrow raised.

“Now that’s the most beautiful cloud I’ve seen yet,” I said.

I leaned up and kissed her. She laughed around my lips.

As we lay down again in the grass, she said, “That one looks like a man and woman hugging.”

“Funny how suggestible the mind is. What we see in a cloud usually has something to do with what we’re actively thinking.”

“I’d like to know,” she retorted, “what was making you think of warty trolls.”

“Looking in the mirror this morning.”

She slapped a hand against my chest. I grinned.

“Beauty and the beast, love, beauty and the beast.”

“I love watching clouds with you,” she whispered, shifting closer.

“They’re beautiful. It’s a shame how quickly they change shape or fade.”

“I guess everything fades, sooner or later.”

My hand sought hers and held it tightly.

The later, I thought, the better . . .

~ * ~

“A bed.”

“A tombstone.”

“A star.”

“A crying troll.”

Laughter gurgled from her throat, broken by a cough.

“I’m sorry it’s not a better view,” I whispered. “At least hospitals have nice big, wide windows.”

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

I ran a finger along her cheek. “Yes, it is. . . .”

“As long as you’re with me to watch them, the clouds are always beautiful.”

“Always.”

“Even—“ She broke off with a cough. “Even after they fade.”

Another cough shook her. She closed her eyes.

I held her hand to my lips. “They’ll be even prettier when I know you’re among them . . .”

The End

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