The Littlest Cloud
For my Big Sister Krystal
And he sailed and sailed, transcending time and space, he sailed. The Littlest Cloud longed for adventure. Cumulous clouds smiling all around, The Littlest Cloud passed them by time after time, never seeming to get far enough away. Being literally “The Littlest” cloud in the entire galaxy, he often felt lonely, being too small to engage in games with all the other young clouds, and he spent his days dreaming of a different life, questioning his existence and longing for answers. All he had ever wanted was the chance to play on Earth with the human children. Day after day The Littlest Cloud observed them playing from above, sighing and wishing he could join in the games of tag and jump rope. One day, The Littlest Cloud saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He was captivated by the way in which the sun’s rays bounced back and forth off her golden pigtail braids as she laughed, playing double dutch with the neighborhood children. Oh how he longed to feel what it was like to be a human, just once. He finally made up his mind to pay a visit to the King of the Clouds, who was the father of all clouds, and the first cloud ever to form in the entire Milky Way Galaxy. The Littlest Cloud was apprehensive, yet determined, and mustering up all his courage, marched up to the golden throne to make his plea. “Please,” he said, “All I have ever wanted is to explore the Earth, and feel what it is like to be human. Just once, and I promise I will never ever ask a favor of you ever again Father, if you grant my wish just this one time.” The King of the Clouds, in all his splendid awe inspiring grandeur, smiled at his son, replying with a slight grin and a nod. With one quick sweep of his jeweled scepter, The Littlest Cloud found himself suddenly floating, down and down on a Messenger Cloud, right down to Earth’s soil. Upon reaching his destination, The Littlest Cloud got to use human legs for the first time. Wobbly at first, he slowly pulled himself to his feet, descending from the cloud whence he came, and slowly looked around him. He was in the middle of the playground he had been observing for years! It was the middle of the night, yet that did not stop him from running around, jumping on the monkey bars and sliding down every slide no less than twenty times. Overcome with joy, The Littlest Cloud played and played until the sun rose. Finally, he took a break and napped on a park bench, where he was awoken shortly after noon by none other than his muse- the beautiful girl with the golden pigtails was standing over him smiling. “What’s your name?” she asked in the sweetest voice he had ever heard. Scrambling to his feet, The Littlest Cloud quickly made up a name, “Justin” he replied, blushing. She smiled, “I’m Audrey. Want to play jump rope with me?” The Littlest Cloud shook his head vigorously, and taking her hand, proceeded to jump rope and explore the playground with Audrey for the rest of the day, both of them enjoying the kind of connection that only comes around once or twice in a mortal lifetime. As they laid next to each other watching the clouds and sipping juice boxes, Audrey suddenly exclaimed, “You know what Justin. Someday, I’d like to feel what it was like to be a cloud. To be free to wander around every day, not having to worry about school or my Mother’s silly rules. Oh how I wish. How I wish.” The Littlest Cloud was puzzled- why would a mortal wish for such a thing! He stored the conversation in the deepest recess of his memory, and continued to enjoy the little time he had left with his beloved. As all things eventually must come to an end, Audrey’s mother called her home for dinner at seven. “I’ll see you again, won’t I?” she inquired, her blue eyes wide with childhood innocence. “Perhaps some day. I love you Audrey. Thank you. Never forget me.” The Littlest Cloud blinked back tears as he watched her golden pigtails disappear around the corner, never to see meet again. As the sun set and the Messenger Cloud slowly descended to collect him, The Littlest Cloud stole a lingering glance of the mortal world around him. So much beauty, yet it is so fleeting- nothing here is permanent. You see, clouds are immortal and hence live forever- The Littlest Cloud himself was over a million years old at this point in his life, yet was considered one of the youngest clouds in the sky. Clouds are forever, and humans are not. Years went by, and The Littlest Cloud no longer pined to be one of them, preferring silent observation of said fascinating species. For humans truly are like no other. He observed Audrey grow up into a lovely young woman, marrying a good man who was a lawyer and bearing five robust and healthy children. The Littlest Cloud mourned with her when one of her young ones fell ill and was returned to God on Audrey’s own twenty ninth birthday, and he cheered when her oldest graduated with honors from medical school. The Littlest Cloud silently held his breath when she felt lonely, stitching scarves beside the fireplace and gazing out the open window. He knew she was lonely. Whenever she couldn’t take it and allowed her repressed emotions to manifest into a Nile River of sadness, The Littlest Cloud channeled his love, uplifting her spirits as she gazed up at him. She also longed for a different life- on the outside her life appeared the portrait of suburban happiness, yet on the inside she too longed to once again feel the innocence of her youth. Jaded by the industrialized world she lived in, Audrey wanted nothing more than to feel what it was like to be a cloud, free to roam the universe without societal stipulations and responsibilities. Oh, how simple life would be, if one was a cloud, she concluded. Birth, life, death are all uniquely human constructs, and fabulously intriguing for those on the outside looking in. When Audrey passed away at the ripe old age of ninety five in her warm bed surrounded by those who loved her, The Littlest Cloud shed a single teardrop, which fell from the sky and landed gently on her forehead. A gesture of closure, and a gesture of unconditional love that goes unnoticed is perhaps the strongest love to ever exist, just as impossible love is arguably the most beautiful yet heartbreaking aspect between an immortal and a mortal. As Audrey’s soul said it’s farewell to it’s mortal flesh and proceeded to ascend into the heavens on the back of a fluffy cumulous cloud, it was pleasantly surprised to come face to face with the lost boy it had encountered on that fateful day on the playground years ago. “It’s…you!” Audrey’s soul exclaimed with glee as they floated up toward heaven, “You came back for me?” The Littlest Cloud grinned, “No, I’ve been waiting for you.” Glowing, the duo slowly but surely ascended toward the white gates of heaven in which the messenger angel welcomed the soul with open arms, ordering the cherub guards of heaven to open the gate. “You cannot come with me?” Audrey asked. “Clouds are messengers, yet we do not reside behind the gates” The Littlest Cloud replied. “Then I shall not enter” Audrey said simply to the surprise of all those around her, “I wish to stay with you forever.” The gate keeper, puzzled, exclaimed, “My child, one does not turn down an invitation into heaven. Once the invitation is rejected, one may never again have the opportunity to enter.” Just then, a golden thunderbolt lit up the sky, and right before them, the manifestation of God the Almighty father appeared, a glowing golden orb of light. He is everything and nothing, all at the same time. “You would turn down your deserved position in my kingdom, all for the love of the smallest cloud in the universe? You met him but once when you were twelve years old my child.” Audrey smiled and responded slowly, “My father, I mean you no disrespect. However I have never forgotten that day on the playground, and the overwhelming feeling I had around him. It felt right, and for the first and last time in my mortal existence, I felt like I was in the exact right place at the exact right time. He has watched over me as a guardian ever since, and it is my upmost duty to devote myself to him now, as I could not then. I choose to be with him, wherever that may take us.” Smiling, the satisfied manifestation let out a cry of satisfaction and exclaimed, “Perfect response my child! And for that, you two will be duly rewarded.” Then with another crack of a thunderbolt, God transformed Audrey into a cloud. “Now”, started God, “both of you have orders you must fulfill. You must together explore the very ends of the Earth- from every continent to all the seven sea’s. Friendship is one gift that spans mortal and immortal beings, as you both have demonstrated beautifully. You will both be as angels, touching the lives of the lonely everywhere, as it will be your duty to do so. Never allow one to feel friendless, for friendship is the greatest gift one can give. For without friendship in life, what else does one have?” And they did just that, staying true to their promise to the Father. To this day, whenever you are gripped with that fleeting, overwhelming sensation called loneliness, be ready for the inevitable uplifting sensation followed by a weightless feeling one would expect say, how floating on a cloud would feel. Close your eyes and touch your forehead- feel a single drop of precipitation upon which of course moments before had been dry…look up, and smile. The power of friendship is the one thing that has the power to transcend space, time, and even one’s own mortality.