City in the clouds

“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Look!” A little girl hollered as she stumbled towards the woman, unable to keep her feet properly while running, looking back at the sky and pointing all at once.

“Huh? What is it Gracie,” She replied, still distracted by her shoelaces.

“Look, look! The York cloud. The cloud, it’s back!”

The woman’s head snapped up, causing her to grimace in pain. Rubbing the crick out of her neck, she stood. She couldn’t believe that it was actually there. It wasn’t until the stabilizing poles started to descend from various points in the cloud, did she believe. Her niece was right, the city was back. A lone cloud, connected to the rest of the mass by nothing more than an isthmus whisp, coincidentally hovered above their meadow. She couldn’t help but scowl at it.

The woman quickly kneeled so she could look the little girl in the eyes,” Gracie, I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to cut our afternoon short.”

Sticking her lip out in a pout, her aunt slung her onto her back. If she was going to disappoint Gracie, she might as well pay for it with a piggy back ride home. It worked, the child could hardly stay mad when her aunt galloped and twirled the full twenty minutes home. Once home, the girl was slow to release Em. Em didn’t really mind, she cherished her afternoons with her niece and she was annoyed at the change in events that made her end this one. Especially since she was now unsure when the next would be. She gave Gracie and extra long hug before leaving her with her sister-in-law.

She didn’t want to go back through the meadow, but it was the most direct route to her cottage. Not that it mattered. If she was meant to go, it’d happen either way. Maybe he hadn’t returned. Maybe it was just the city. Maybe the lone cloud was vacant. But since she couldn’t full displace the nagging feeling of foreboding she instead sped on her way. As she walked, she pulled out a ribbon and tried to wrestled her curly mess into a pony tail. Moments later it fell, cascading down around her shoulders. Cursing whatever movie from her childhood that had given her  unrealistic expectations about ribbon-only hair-dos she tried again .  Somehow this time, despite doing everything the same, it stayed. At least that was one less thing to deal with.

She had just cleared the small wood that surrounded the meadow when she froze. From the cloud a spiral staircase had descended. At the base of the stairs, casually leaning against the rail, was a man. Tempering her annoyance, she approached. He had aged since she’d seen him last. Which was only proper, she had too. After all, it had been four years. His wrinkles had spread. Originally he only had laughter lines around his eyes. The lines had morphed into worry lines that now creased his brow. His hair was a bit longer, now a messy shag around his ears, thematically matching the slightly unkempt scruff on his jaw. She cracked her knuckles, walked to within a few yards from him and crossed her arms.

He looked her over then. His eyebrows knitted together. He was worried. He should be. After a few minutes of silence he broke.

Looking her in the eyes he whispered, “Hello Emily.”

“Hello Jon,” She spat, forgoing any pretense that she would handle this calmly.

“Ah, I see. You’re upset.”

“Understatement.”

“I said I’d come back.”

“Yeah, but only if you needed something. Guess what, after all of this time, maybe I don’t care what you need.”

“It’s not practical to have this argument. You know I’d only return if it was absolutely necessary. That was our agreement.”

“And is it necessary?”

He paused then, looking down. He kicked his shoes together thinking. Slowly he raised his head to her, cocking it to the side, accessing. After a moment he nodded.

“Well then,” she replied and brushed past him, beginning the long climb to the top of the cloud.

 

 

Found via Pinterest.
Prompt: What is the story behind this photo
Doctors Cloud_sararichard
http://www.sararichard.com

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