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Where Clouds Look Like Mountains

Delfina Piña

May 21, 2023

Short story.

Elliott remembers a rainy afternoon, the smell of hot jello left on the counter to cool down. He didn’t care about school, he did fine, he didn’t have to make an effort, so he didn’t. Something weighed heavy on him, it made his stomach feel funny, his heart race. Perhaps it was the look in his father’s eyes, or that stupid comment he made that was misunderstood and caused an awkward situation. Elliott is a shallow boy, but he has something. Potential? Could be. He has kind eyes and brown, curly hair. During that afternoon, Elliott and his sister Polly took the bus the wrong way. They always went left. That day they went right. They ended up in a quaint place with trees and a highway and a neighbourhood nearby. He wondered if anyone he knew lived there. They walked a bit and ended up finding this path that was blocked by a fence. They found a little spot to get in and so they did. So many trees and a path that goes way uphill. Elliott remembers the sound of the cicadas. They walked a bit more and saw a lake. A lake surrounded with a weird kind of mud, a mix between mud and sand, like quicksand. Elliott thought to himself: I should stand there and see if I sink like in the movies. Elliott didn’t worry because his sister Polly was with him. She was two years older than him and he looked up to her, he was in awe of her. The river was a sight to see. They found a spot to sit down and eat some snacks they brought. Polly abruptly says as soon as she swallows a cookie:— You have to tell me. I know you can’t, and I know we can’t do anything about it but you can’t just not say anything, it’s gonna hurt your stomach.Elliott avoids everything. Perhaps he thinks he is a burden, perhaps he thinks he is better than everyone else. The thought clouds his mind, he looks down with a lump in his throat. His tears shamefully stream out of his throbbing eyes. Polly holds him and he buries his face on her left shoulder. They stay like that for a while. Elliott says:— Can we look away just for a second? Polly nods. She holds her little brother as the skies get light. It is the dawn.

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