The sky was swollen with thick Farrow and Ball Down Pipe clouds. The sky was so packed with them they couldn’t even move. The only thing capable of drifting was my gaze. I looked up towards the top of the hill to size up the hike. It was anything but smooth. There was no sunlight. The tread on my shoes was already worn out from the numerous hikes that came before. The only pleasure I could find in getting up there was to exclaim, “I did it! I got up here!”
Zach came up to me from behind and filled in the curve of my waist with his arm.
“Look,” as he pointed to the only source of golden light on this gray, gray day. “It’s exquisite. Let’s go.”
He was pointing to a miniature castle made of radiance and grace. I had never seen anything like it. It was asymmetrical, feminine, and fluid. There were no towers or turrets, only serpentine walls made of a billion small pieces of wonder. I don’t know why I told myself it was a castle — it looked like it was made for nobility and I couldn’t see an entrance…at least from the bottom of the hill.
“I don’t know if I can make it up there, Zach,” as I trembled under the still chill of the gray sky. “It’s beautiful and all, but this weather…my shoes…let’s go another time.”
He softly placed the words, “We’re going now,” into my right ear. I took his hand, looked into his eyes, and nodded.
The world had never seemed so tall and long as it did that day. We both grew faint as we stumbled through loose clusters of rocks and rotting wood. The air got thin. The higher we got the slicker the ground felt beneath us. How could gravel and snake holes feel like waxed marble?
Then we arrived. We were SO much taller than it. It must’ve been only two feet tall and four feet wide. Sad violin music played as we smelled each other’s disappointment. All that for this? It wasn’t even glowing anymore.
Then, in the quickest of moments, the world made a thunderous BOOM and a bright flash of white light filled our eyes. It started to rain, no POUR, but it poured the softest impression of rain. Beautiful, flittering, light reflecting bits of something danced down from the clouds, and swirled around our silhouettes. Their dance was so deliberate it almost appeared motionless. We definitely were. We stood still for moments — staring.
Bits of light from somewhere bounced off the..whatever they were…and dappled our skin with prism colored speckles.
“This is wonderful. Who would’ve thought?”
Then, in another quickest of moments, the real rain came. It piled the world high with water too violent to romance, flooding even the deepest of ground holes. We stared at each other’s soaked skin and dripping faces, laced our fingers together, and ran. We had no choice. The water pushed us hard and fast. We were pressured into a connection that was no longer platonic. There was shelter somewhere. There must’ve been. We ran with purpose and direction.
I don’t think we ever found it…
but in each other.