It was a Friday aftenoon when I saw her. I was walking up the hill next to my house. It was cold as hell outside and I just wanted to desperately get inside.
It snowed that morning and everyone in school was saying how we would get out early. We didn't. The snow came and went and we stayed in school.
The temperature was below freezing and I could feel the season in my bones. The hill I was going up was steep as hell too.
I was trudging and trudging and I felt as if I would never get to the top. When i did though, my feet stopped cold in their tracks while my eyes were blessed by her small figure. It was cold.
Really cold. And I wanted to get in the house. But when I saw her standing there, with her back to me, and her head tilted slightly up towards the sky. I didn't want to go inside anymore.
I was still cold, but another feeling overpowered the coldness easily.
I first met her when I was in middle school. She used to be really loud and she had a lot of friends. Most of them were mean, but you could never catch her acting that way.
To this day, you’ll never catch her acting that way. After 8th grade she changed though. She got more reserved and kept to herself.
She was no longer friends with who she used to be friends with and she was quiet. We've said a few things to each other, but she shuts down and doesn't keep the conversation going.
I always thought it was because I was too awkward for her to have a conversation with me. Or maybe she didn't know what else to say. But she’s awkward too in that way.
That makes me feel a little bit better. It makes me feel connected to her. She's such a weirdo.
For example, what was she doing? She was just standing there staring at whatever she was staring at and doing nothing else. She didn’t care who walked behind her or saw her or judged her.
She just stood there. Weird. But aside from her mystery and quirks, I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to go up to her and ask her what she's doing and why.
I wanted to get inside her head for a minute so that even though I didn't understand half the things she did or why she did them, I could understand that moment. That now moment.
So my feet started moving. I've never been more aware of my feet in my life. I noticed how one foot moved in front of the other as I got closer and closer to her.
I could throw up right now while writing this. This all sounds so cliché. But clichés are cliché because they’re so relatable. So common. Undeniable truths. Sunday mornings are easy.
Time will tell. Opposites do attract. And I am the awkward guy in that story that got the courage to talk to that girl. So I walked.
Before I could even reach her though,
she turned her body slightly in my direction and her eyes immediately locked in on mine as if the reason she was standing there was because she was waiting for me.
My body wanted to freeze but I kept walking until I was standing beside her.
I said it with some bass in my voice. She didn't change her expression from when she first noticed me, but I knew that she was confused as to why I was standing next to her and speaking.
For a second, I thought that she wasn't going to say anything to me, but ever so lightly she said
And there was the confusion. She didn't say the small word as a statement but rather as a question.
“Hi.” I repeated the greeting as if I had run out of words. “You're probably confused right now. I know we never talk, but I wanted to ask you a question.”
Finally, her facial expression changed slightly and I witnessed amusement. It was as if she knew what I wanted to ask, and thought it was funny. “Okay.” She was intrigued now.
I felt her energy shift and my presence felt more welcome.
With my new found sense of comfort, I let a smile tug at my lips and I spoke again.
“I was walking up the hill just now, and I saw you just,” I paused and motioned with my hands to the spot that we were standing in, “just standing here.”
“I'm assuming you want to know why?” Every phrase she spoke came out of her mouth as if she were unsure, but I felt how sure she was. And she knew how sure she was.
And I knew that she knew and she knew that I knew. It seemed like she was dominating the conversation without saying many words. And now that I'm looking back on it, I know that she was.
My head nodded and with that conformation (which she didn't need), she turned away from me and went back into the position she was in before i walked over. Head tilted back slightly.
Gaze focused as if I never interrupted her to begin with. “I was looking at the sky.” My eyes immediately looked up in the direction she was facing.
One side of the sky was blue because the clouds that covered the other side hadn't travelled over there yet. The color was intense and reminded me of summer. The clouds were big and billowy.
Whitish gray. Captivating. “I was walking home and I literally had to stop walking because of how it looks. It was like my body didn't have a choice but to come stand over here and watch.”
“It is gorgeous.” I said halfheartedly. I wasn't lying, it was gorgeous. But it wasn't as interesting to me as it was to her. That much was clear.
The sky isn't something that I really choose to pay attention to. If I'm in a car or riding the bus to work, then maybe I'll stare at the sky, but I'm more focused on my thoughts than the sky.
I could feel in the air that she was more involved than i was. Not just physically involved, by looking at it, but emotionally involved. I looked away from the sky and to her face.
I could tell by the look she possessed how much she actually was captivated. Her eyes were somewhat squinted, but still held the same amusement I saw when I first walked over here.
And they never tired of looking from one part of the sky to the other. Her lips were parted ever so slightly and I could tell she was in deep thought.
Not the same kind of deep thought I have while looking at the sky though. It was as if I was watching two people in a relationship, but one of the people was...a sky. She was involved.
I can't stress that enough. It was an intimate thing and it made me feel comfortable that my presence didn't interrupt her from having that moment with her companion.
What made me feel even more comfortable, was realizing that I was also a part of the moment. I was there. Then. And as i write this I’m back there now.
It was just as much my moment as it was hers. And when my brain came to that awareness, I looked back at the sky with her eyes. It was gorgeous. It was captivating.
Her passion became my passion and I understood why. I understood the conversations she was having with the sky and with the moment. I can't give words to how my mind shifted that day.
It reminded me of how much time I actually spent thinking that moments didn’t belong to me, not realizing that every moment that I have, am, and will exist in belonged,
belongs and will be to me. This clarity struck me so hard and fast that I could've literally teared up in that moment with the amount of emotion that flowed through me. Shit, I could tear up now.
“I’ve never looked at the sky for this long before.” I said out loud, breaking the invincible silence.
I felt her smile as she spoke. “I wonder that all the time.
Whenever I'm looking up at the sky and I see how breathtaking it looks, I wonder how many people stop and just take a moment to look at it.”
I looked back in her direction. “You wonder how many people are looking at it in the same moment as you?”
She nodded and the smile on her face stayed. She looked in my direction and we made eye contact. It honestly was no different than me looking at the sky. “Yeah.” She said.
“I think the sky is the biggest thing that goes unnoticed; until it either feels really good outside or if there's a storm coming.” Her shoulders moved up and down in a small shrug.
“People don't realize that the same sky you saw that one amazing day in spring is the same sky on a rainy day. It's so versatile and...
My point is,” She giggled, more to herself than to me, "The sky is the sky every day. And the sky is beautiful.” With that, she dug into her thick, black coat pocket and pulled out her phone.
When her physical attention was no longer on me, I remembered how cold I was. The wind was blowing less than before, but I was still cold.
I sighed and noticed how I could see my breath in front of me. “I never thought of it that way.” I mentioned.
Her phone was pointed to the sky as she took a few pictures. “Most people don't.”
“So,” I said inquisitively. “Is this just what you do? Look at the sky and ponder?”
She laughed and it surprised me a little bit. Yes, I've heard her laugh before, but this time she was laughing because of me. That's never happened before. She shrugged again.
“I guess you could say that.” She looked at me. “I'm a walking cliché.”
I smiled at her. “Clichés are clichés for a reason though.”
She nodded in understanding, as if that thought had never crossed her mind before. “That's so true.
” She stared off into the distance for several more seconds that felt like their each individual eternity.
I watched every frame of this movie carefully and from the moment I walked over there to when she said “I think I'm going to start heading home,” it felt like an hour had gone by.
“Okay, yeah it's freezing out here.” I said, finally snapping out of the trance she and the sky had me in.
She nodded and began walking away, “Later.” She raised her hand and waved at me while her back was to me.
I couldn't help but smile to myself. Her mystery is what intrigued me about her and now, she is no longer a mystery. But I still feel pulled to her as if she is positive and I am negative.
“Later.” I said, as I watched her walk away from me. When she turned a corner and I could no longer see her, I still stood in the same spot.
Her energy still lingered and I could still taste that moment. I can still taste it now.