A Day and A Century

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Write about a character who loves cloud gazing. ... view prompt


Fiction Romance

I look at her phone number. That’s all I have to look at. Not even a single picture of hers. I pick up the pen and try to forge the words emanating from my mind into a sentence. Just about writing it down, I tear out the page from the notebook, crumble it and throw it at the window. I had underestimated the poets.

I think about her. The golden light of sunset indwelled on her serene face. Her eyes that narrowed on a few dawdling clouds in the sky. Her almost imperceptible smile beneath those humming lips. I would devour them all in a second before turning away. For me it was an eternity - at least it felt so. I remember the urge to close my eyes and lay back on the rocks with my hands spread. I give a chortle imagining that. I was so madly in love with her.

I reach our spot. The sun is clouded and beaming through them. We both used to sit here and watch the distant clusters of buildings, the bustling roads leading up to them, the vast greenery surrounding everything, and the clouds floating in the sky.

“How come no one has discovered this place?” I asked her.

“Everyone thinks the hilltop has got the best view. I rambled on through the woods and came out to this little point where the trees aren’t there to block the skyline,” she said triumphantly.

“I see. So you spend all your evenings here?”

“Whenever I get to bunk college,” she smirks.

I chuckled a little. “What’s the most beautiful thing you see?”

“The Clouds. And you?” 

“I think when the sun goes halfway down the horizon, it will be really beautiful,” I remarked. 

She nodded.

“Why the clouds though?” I prodded.

“I like to watch these weird shapes of the clouds and figure out their resemblance. Look at that cloud above that blue building on the right,” I followed her finger as she pointed to the north. “What does it look like to you?”

“Umm— a duck or a chicken, maybe?” I replied.

“You can see the combs, so it’s a chicken for me,” she said. We spent the next few minutes scanning the clouds for more shapes.

“We see the shapes we want to see. It is there in the sky, visible to everyone, and yet no one can see it except for you and the person you show it to,” she said enthusiastically.

“But what do these shapes mean?”

She pondered for a few seconds and looked up, a bit higher. “I don’t know. Nothing really, I think. But, it will mean something if you show them to someone.”

I smiled. "Right."

The sun was half below the horizon and everything was suffused with an orange hue. I still couldn’t fathom how beautiful she looked at that moment.

.... I had my head tilted up to the sky,

To reminisce the days spent beneath.

There were moments when I lived,

Which now haunt me when I just breathe.

I close the notebook. A cool breeze rummages through my hair and sends mild goosebumps up my bare arms. I miss the gentle touch of her hair on my face when the wind swayed it in occasionally. 


I carefully step over the grass that has freshly grown in the way to avoid slipping downhill. It rained for the past four days and I couldn’t write a single line since the last time I came here. I reach the spot and sit on the rocks. They are still a little soaked.

The sky looks glum and is filled with dark clouds. The shapes are prominent. I stop fiddling inside my bag for the notebook. I look out for shapes I could recognize.

“Let’s play a game.”

“Okay. What is it?” I asked intrigued.

“We pick one shape that we see in the clouds and tell each other what we have selected. Because the clouds are fleeting, each of us will have one minute to locate the shape that the other one has chosen. Once we see the shape, we write a ‘Yes’ on a blank paper otherwise a ‘No’. After one minute, we have to point where we see the shape and if it’s correct, the Yes stays, or else it’s crossed out,” she explained. “No cheating as we will be looking at each other’s paper after every round. Before sunset, the one with the most ‘Yes’ wins the game.”

I agreed to play. She took out a notebook from her bag and tore two blank pages and handed me one. We started looking for the most ludicrous shapes in the clouds.

“Come on. Pick one or the shapes will change,” she nudged me.

“Okay—I see a scarecrow. What’s your pick?”

A crab. The time starts now,” she started the timer for a minute on her phone.

I searched the sky for a few seconds and glanced at her. Her peaked eyebrows formed a wave as her face furrowed with concentration. Her eyes flickered like pearls on a beach and I could hear my racing heartbeats. 

She wrote something on her paper. The ring of the timer shifted my attention from her.  

“So, did you find it?” she asked, as she raised her chin and peeped on the paper I was holding. “Seems like I’m already leading.”

“How?” I simpered as she grinned cheerfully. I was still in my trance.

“Blank paper means a No!”

“Uh –oh!” I looked at the paper I was holding. “Not really. A blank paper can also mean a Yes.

She looked obfuscated. “Doesn’t make any sense. You did not write a 'Yes', and blank means No by default.”

I pointed at the crab in the clouds whose legs had already shifted by then.

“Hmm. It was there. Fine. This time a blank paper meant a Yes, but you have to write it or it would not be counted.”

“I can also write it afterward. I just have to find it, right?” I wrote a 'Yes' on my paper.

She shrugged and I mimic her. We both laughed it off and spent the rest of the evening gazing at the clouds.

…. I wish I could tell you sooner, but I was in defiance,

A thousand ways to tell you what I feel,

Not a single path to walk you through in silence.

The sun has gone down the horizon. I close the notebook. Tomorrow I will finish the poem. Here. My room already has enough crumbled papers lying on its floor. 


How should I phrase it without sounding desperate? I curse myself for taking up this thing - writing a poem.

Is she still looking at the clouds, right now? Somewhere far from here, beyond the horizon?

I lay back and watch the figures floating across the sky, disguised in the clouds. I think I see her. Her side face. Just the way I used to see while sitting right beside her.

How will I ever forget her if I see her like that everyday, anywhere I go?

“I’ll be taking a lot with me. This view, the tranquility, the memories. A part of us too, if I’m not wrong. I wish I could stay here and keep things where they belong,” she divulged. 

I tried hard to hide my dejection about her going to a different country. “Wow. You sounded like a poet.”

“I wish I could be one,” she grimaced.

“You can be anything you want.”

“Not a poet. They are born with it,” she said. “Do you write?”

I looked into her eyes. “No. But I think I’ll write one about you.” 

“What?” She chuckled. “What about me?”

Why did I say that? I had a lot to tell her but absolutely not in a poetic way. “I don’t know yet. I will write a letter to you, not a text message or an email, and you’ll know.”

She looked away, visibly vacillating between words. I knew she understood what I felt for her. I wished on my lucky star that she reciprocates it, but more than that, I wanted her to acknowledge it.

She took a deep breath. “You’re joking, right? I know you will forget me once I’m gone.”

“No, I won’t,” I gently shook my head, looking deep into her eyes.

She tenderly smiled and turned towards the horizon. “I wish I could stay for one more evening here. But it will stay as a good memory with me. I’ll have something to hold on to. Maybe one day, I will come back to spend a day here.”

“Will you look out for me when you are here?” I implored.

“I am never coming here again without you,” she told, gazing right into my soul.

We sat quietly for a while. It was the last time I had been comfortable with silence. I glimpsed at her. I could see solace in her eyes.

“But why will you return here? You can see the clouds from anywhere in the world.”

…. It stays the same whatever you choose now

Nothing is ever going to change my love for you.

It is true and if you say a Yes you will know how,

Or else I will walk away, and still forever love you.

I stand up. I survey the whole view and contemplate the proposal I am about to make. All the beautiful things in the world and yet our heart resides with the one who gives meaning to these things.

I read the poem from beginning to end. My heart feels a lot lighter now. No matter where life takes us and what possibilities it brings, I know one thing for sure - I won’t have any regrets.


One month has passed since I sent her the letter. Each day seems longer than the previous day. It also feels like yesterday only we bid goodbyes to each other. I live a day and a century together.

I keep looking at her number, check the mailbox, and call the post office every day.

I wait.


One month and six days later, I get a letter from her. On the envelope, it says- Open it at our spot.

I sit down on the rocks and briskly, but carefully, tear the edges of the envelope. I take out the letter and unfold it.

It was blank. I turn over the paper and the other side was blank too.

Why would she send me a blank paper? Is it a mistake? I look up and try to think of any plausible explanation for it.

Why the spot?

And then I realize. I can’t resist a smile as I look at the blank paper.

I take out the pen and write her answer.

April 29, 2022 23:34

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