A Cloud is Just Water, Right?

A Cloud is Just Water, Right? by John Sharp

Sometimes it rains in their house. Not from a leak, but from a cloud, which six months ago arrived in an unmarked gift box, left on their doorstep the day they came home from the hospital with the empty pink blanket. It floats in the vaulted living room, drifting in the lazy currents of the fan.

On days when Samantha gets out of bed, she curls up in the overstuffed recliner, hugging the pink blanket. The cloud follows her. When she cries, it rains. When she stares blankly for hours, it grows gray and cold. When she curses, it flashes and rumbles.

Today Warren suggests they go to lunch. She stares at him dead-eyed, her throat full of a sob or a scream, she can’t tell which.

Sunlight suddenly bursts through the skylight. The cloud begins to rain the finest of mists, adjusts itself until a rainbow arcs across the room, splashing brilliant color everywhere. Sam gasps, steps back, and falls onto the couch. Warren holds her until the sun goes down.

They awaken on the couch. The cloud is gone and Sam is staring across the room. On the chair, where the rainbow touched it, is the blanket, no longer just pink, but all the colors, indelible and vibrant. Warren asks if she had done that. Sam shakes her head. Through the skylight she sees clouds; among the clouds she sees a small one. She imagines that it’s smiling at her. She hugs herself in the blanket and smiles back.