The Color of the Sky by Aramis Zepeda

The two options had been either the part dirt, part grass, part very dead grass patch of land, or the rough dirt-encrusted cement floor surrounding it, and he chose the former. At first he sat down, legs crossed, on the grass, and leaned his chin on the back of his hands in order to observe the occasional passerby in a state of semi-comfort, but after a while, he decided that there was no point in searching around for someone who was most likely not going to pass through there. It wasn’t unnatural for him to attempt to find a way for his surroundings to match the contents of his mind, but it was still slightly disheartening when they didn’t match quickly enough, so he decided to stop torturing himself. He knew he might need to pull grass out of his hair and off his clothes later but he had more important matters to attend to, so he fell back on the grass, arms wide, and stared up into the sky rather than at the people around him. A few clouds occasionally drifted over the sun, keeping the temperature in check, but overall the amount of open sky was reasonably larger in quantity than that of the clouds floating across it. The result was a comfortable warmth coming from the sun, kept that way thanks to the freshness in the air.

The illumination from the sun dimmed slightly as a cloud levitated by, and then someone stepped next to him, from the left, stood over him, and leaned slightly into his panorama. As she looked downward at him, her hair fell forward, so she brushed it aside and over her ear. She was wearing a very plain yellow t-shirt, somewhat loose fitting over her arms, so the excess sleeves formed something like little triangular wings on the sides of her shoulders.

“Well hello there, kiddo,” she inquired curiously, tilting her head as if to straighten her image of him, “what exactly is it you’re doing?” He produced a somewhat lazy but honest smile from his lips, and she returned a wider smile from behind closed lips.

***

“-Unless you have something better to do,” she raised an eyebrow, playfully feigning offense.

“No! Relax,” he said through one of those half chuckles people tend to do, where they just breathe out a bit through their nose while smiling.  “I’ll be there,” he continued, “I’ll do whatever I can to be there, okay?” She leaned her head forward while continuing to stare questioningly at him as if to say, “really?” to which he replied, in obvious pretend annoyance, “yes, yes, oh my god, I’ll be there!”

She beamed at him for a moment. Then, she turned to face away from him, and threw her head backward to face the sky and began groaning incomprehensibly about something. She started to walk away as she did so, and after a second or two, when it appeared she was satisfied with her groans, she stopped groaning and continued walking away.

“What did I do?” he laughed as she walked away.

“Just be there!” she called back, not looking back toward him as she walked away.

“Okay! – I said I will! But what’s the deal with the whole braaaghhh thing you just did?”

She threw her head backward again and groaned louder and for a longer duration, before yelling back to him once more-

“Just, be there!”

“I will!”

“Just be there!”

To this a good quantity of charmed confusion appeared on his face alongside his already present contentment, and he replied-

“I said I will! What do you want from me!?”

“Your soul!”

“Uhhh- what?”

“Just! Be! Thereee!”

He waited for a moment grinning, after which she looked back and waved at him, to which he waved back. Once she turned back her own way again and went around the corner, he considered following her for a moment. Instead, however, he turned around, stuck his hands into his coat pockets, and walked in the opposite direction.

***

“Okay, you have absolutely no reason to stress out-” he began in a purposefully calm voice, holding her left hand tenderly with both of his own, before she interrupted him, with a tiny flicker of anxiety in her voice-

“Wellll, that sounds like you have a perfect reason to stress out,” she said semi-sardonically, through wide, worrying eyes.

“I haven’t even said what I’m talking about yet,” he spoke softly, shaking his head and hugging her hand a bit more snugly. To this her slightly affectionate and slightly sardonic expression became slightly less expressive, but she continued to look directly at him. She was almost completely certain what he was talking about, and of the fact that he was just trying to comfort her. However, even though she valued his attempts to comfort her very much, sometimes she couldn’t help but feel mildly embarrassed that he felt the need to.

“Look,” he continued, taking her right hand into his own, and continuing to hold her left hand with his left. He looked directly into her eyes, as if whoever he was talking to wasn’t actually the girl in front of him, but rather someone who lived deep within her, somewhere in her honest eyes, which could tell no lie regardless how much effort she put into being illegible. In her eyes, he searched for the right words to explain what he needed to. Everything was perfectly okay, at the end of the day they both knew this to be true, but sometimes it is truly easy to slip into worrying about someone or something when you care about that someone or something very much, even if there is no real reason to. As he looked through the emotions, without a warning, his search fell into an accidental detour, into the various shades of color in her irises, into her sight. He was there in front of him, staring directly at her, but suddenly it seemed to her like he was seeing something much more detailed than she was. Her gaze fluttered back and forth across his face, until it flew back to his eyes and stayed there, and they saw each other. Her expression softened again.

“You told me to look. I’m looking.”

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