She Did Not See the Sky

She did not see the sky, but felt its weight press down upon her nonetheless. She sat, head in hands, at the bus stop on the grayest day she could recall. She stared only at what she could see on the gritty pavement between her feet: the discarded gum wads black with age, wrappers that skipped across her shoes with the gusting wind, and the last cast off leaves of fall, bleeding their bright hues into the pavement. Inwardly she cursed herself for the cliché as it came into her mind. She felt as gray and empty as this day. The first few drops of rain landed softly on her fingers, buried now in her hair. Beneath those long fingers her brain hummed with feverish thought. What to do.

She was in love. As she had long suspected, it was unlike anything that had been described to her by the maudlin movies and popular novels of her generation. To her, that love was nothing more than a greasy slick marketing ploy. She would not take part. Instead, she married young and practically to a suitable man. They lived for the most part in mutual contentment and ease. For five years it was bearable.

That was before she met him. His face swam across the dark behind her eyes. With his visage in her mind, she breathed deeply the scent of rain and dying leaves and something inside her lifted. It fell at once when the bus at last squealed to halt in front of her and she shuffled onto it with the rest of the dampened passengers. She chose a seat in the back where she could look out the rain streaked window. She heard the hiss and sigh of the brakes as the bus trundled into motion. She reflected.

She closed her eyes against the exquisite pain. Never had she willingly and knowingly hurt another human being. And yet, to soothe the dull ache at her core, she knew it would not only be requisite but inevitable. Could she trade someone else’s pain for her own? The tear was hot as it rolled down her cheek, a mirror image of the chilly raindrop that streamed down the window in front of her.

Unbidden, all the moments spent with him began to replay, the imagery brushy and ephemeral like a dream. The flashes swam backward at first and then forward. In the flickers she saw two smiles, his and hers, with sun dappling the air between them. Slowly, the smile spread from her reverie to her face. A tear made its way between her lips, faintly salty on her tongue. In the same moment she tasted the tear she knew at once who it was for.

She stood and strode toward the front of the bus at the next stop. Leaping out into the rain, she looked skyward for the first time that day. The the taste of rain mixed with tears on her tongue was both piercing and soft, like hope. She stepped off the curb, turned around once, and began.

She Did Not See the Sky


Joined January 2008

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 1

Artist's Description

The most important moments of life often unfold not over altars or in hospitals, but in the seconds that slip away from us unmarked until their recollection.

Artwork Comments

  • Michael Gatch
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.