I Saw a Cloud That Reminded Me of You

Dear Samantha,

Many years have passed since we last met. And yet, when I think of you as I do now, I am transported back to the summer we shared. The time we rested shoulder to shoulder on a field of sunflowers, gazing up at the clouds as they swam past us overhead. And I remember. 

I remember how brilliantly your eyes shone as you interpreted the shape of such and such fluffy whiteness in the sky…

“Hey Nate, what do you make of that cloud?”. You pointed to the sky, but my gaze lingered on a loose strand of hair on your cheek. Then, when I didn’t answer, you shifted your gaze back to earth. And before our eyes met, I quickly shot my gaze back to the sky.

“Oh, do you mean that one,” I said, pointing haphazardly.

“No, farther to the right, you dummy, do you see the rabbit?”. You leaned over to take hold of my hand, guiding my fingertip across the blue until it landed on a peculiar cloud formation. Then, unfortunately, your hand let go of mine, but your eyes turned to regard me with a look of childish anticipation. I wanted to laugh but managed to limit myself to a soft snicker. 

I knew then, that were you not limited by your sickly frame, but rather by the measure of your willpower, you would have reached all the way into the heavens. 

I answered your question with honesty, pointing out the characteristic shape of a duck’s beak among the clouds. 

“See, that’s no rabbit; it’s a duck.” I flapped my arms in imitation, “quack quack.”

And you, you pressed your lips together, pouting. At that moment, you looked just like the duck in the sky, but I didn’t tell you that; I’m a nice guy.

As I write this letter, I sit at the spot where you once were. And, I just wanted you to know — I saw a cloud that reminded me of you. I know, it sounds cringe, perhaps a bit bizarre, but it’s the truth. Maybe it was how the cloud constantly changed shape, from a prideful lion to a gentle cat. You were like that, weren’t you? Quick to anger, but always coming back to that sweet, gentle smile of yours.

Did you know? I did my fair share of cloud gazing while you were curled up next to me, but I could never truly get into it, for my gaze always shifted back to you. Well, that’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? I even remember the way you met my eyes once, smiling impishly.

If there is one thing that characterized our relationship, it was the way you managed to always find new ways of teasing me. Like that one time when we were surprised by a sudden rain shower; you made fun of my hair for looking like a wet mop, all the while your own hair hung over your face like something out of a horror movie. But I let you have the win. 

And, although I acted as though I disliked it, I really didn’t. Instead, your quirkiness just made me fancy you even more. Heh, but then again, you knew that as well, didn’t you? 

Oh god, Sam. I have lost count of the times I’ve put our encounters on repeat. Dreaming of a world where you still exist…

Sometimes, I still visit our private cloud gazing spot, reserving, as I always did, a place for you besides me. And sitting there, I close my eyes, imagining a world of endless summers and infinite fields of sunflowers; a sacred place neath the vaults of the heavens, where we are free to gaze upon the clouds forevermore. But, no matter how long I stay there, waiting for you, there is naught but an empty patch of withered sunflowers next to me. They wait for summer as I wait for you. Perhaps we are waiting for the same thing, the flowers and I. Summer… the sensation of your shoulder touching mine.

After you left, it was as though I saw the world through a snowstorm; colors faded to a dull gray—eternal winter.

But hey, Sam, I beg you not to misunderstand. I do not regret it. No, I would never wish for a cosmos where I never met you. Such a world would be the epitome of emptiness, worthless nothingness.

I never told you, did I? How much you meant to me. Perhaps, if there were one thing I did regret, that would undoubtedly be it. It is easy to take things for granted, enjoying the presence of your touch, expecting it to last forever. I lived unaware that reality was fleeting past, just like the clouds in the sky. Perhaps expecting you to remain as steadfast as you do in my dreams. 

But, one day, you didn’t show up. And I didn’t think much of it back then, although I admit I was surprised. You were always first to arrive, greeting me at a distance with an eager wave of the hand. You were my sun.

And now, as I gaze at the clouds swimming past me overhead, I cannot help but see you up there as well. Free, unfettered by the restraints of your illness. Suffering released, and pancreatic cancer no more.

You best friend, now and always.

// Nathan

A lone man sits neath an ancient tree, a blanket for two spread out under him. He sits there alone in the ragged remains of a black suit, a withered bouquet of red roses next to him. It seems, to the sparse onlookers, as though he has been waiting there for quite some time, for someone to sit down beside him. They have come to expect his increasingly unkempt figure. 

As if rooted by the tree, he rarely moves far out of its reach. Motionless, but for the furious scratching of pen on paper. It’s been a month since he was last spotted, and still, he remains, hunched down over a sea of ink and paper, fresh tears rolling down onto a letter he just finished writing. However, this time, to the amazement of a couple walking by, he does not rip it apart; instead, he reaches for a cylindrical container.

Nathan wipes his watery eyes with a black handkerchief, raising himself to his knees to fold the blanket. Finally, he carefully rolls the letter, inserting it in the container before sealing the lid forever.

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