Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cloud People

A dull thud chased by a deafening shriek cleaved the sleep from my eyes. I tumbled down fastened to my seat in loud silence. Strewed debris plummeted around. The plane had exploded in midair and although I was not dead yet I was soon to be. In a surge of defiance entwined with acceptance I unbuckled the seat-belt and floated free.

I assumed a spread-eagle position bringing my fall under control. Fragments of memory whooshed with the rushing wind illuminating pinpoints of realization on a giant blank screen. Seconds earlier I was fast asleep at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. Now that my body had reached terminal velocity nothing stood between me and the solid ground but 45 seconds of feckless time and a bank of clouds. An endless bank of clouds.

As the white expanse loomed closer the silence grew quieter. I was involuntarily slowing down and upon reaching a mushrooming top its ethereal substance brought my plunge to a gentle halt. I pranced, furtively evading the unseen and distant ground below, shaking with disbelief. I gasped to breathe and was instantly rewarded with a lung-full of brisk air. I floated in the pleasure of near weightlessness. Every cell in me cried with incredulity. “I am dead. I must be...”

“No you’re not!” her mellow voice came from below and a little to my right. I strained my eyes to see her, almost invisible in her whiteness, my heart pounding savagely in my chest.
“This can’t be real”, I stammered. “Who are you? Where am I?”
“This is very real to me and believe me you’re not dead my handsome man. I am Gwen and I live in the clouds.”
“But... but I just... I was..” my memory faded.
“Come follow me. Let me show you.” She flittered closer and softly pushed me forward. “Pick a name to call you by in your new home.”
The way we moved together defying every known law of physics was neither clumsy walking nor bird flying but a delightful hybrid of hovering and capering, As we skimmed the top of the adjoining nimbi I shed my clothing and rejoiced in my translucency. “My name is Baal, tell me about the clouds.”
We drifted over land and sea, our evanescent home receding then expanding, ever-changing, wrapping the earth like a shawl of silk.
“This is your home Baal. You will follow the clouds in their endless voyage above the white-caped mountains and the luscious forests of emerald. The wind shall take you over distant lands across the ocean and bring you back. You will precariously get close to the edge of the desert and seeing the vapor disappear from underneath your feet you will scurry upwind hopping from one lonely puff to another to be with me again. You will make love to me here and there. Everywhere! Your seed will infuse me with your thunder and our progeny, a flock of cirrus strands, will grow and propagate to inundate that distant ancestral land that is forever on the fringe of memory.


Day and night came and went. One misty evening we escorted a brood of dripping grays over a park to the north. A small fountain encircled by wooden benches gurgled in a whisper. Two lovers sat hand in hand oblivious to the world. Gwen saw a tear forming in the young man’s eye and reached with an invisible hand and wiped it away. She put it to my lips to taste. “Every once in a while we are blessed with a drop of moisture more precious than all the water of the oceans below,” she breathed softly in my ear.
With the tip of my finger I carried the tear back and delicately placed it on the girl’s cheek. The young man held her face in both hands and kissed her with thirst. “There! It’s back where it belongs.” I enfolded Gwen with my body becoming one with her.

Lightening awoke the shadows in the dark and they hurried along the passageways looking for a place to hide. We made love and rained all night. When morning yawned we watched the wet streets coming back to life. The rising sun dried them quickly helping us reclaim what‘s always been ours. Our cloud bank broke then scattered across the sky. We drifted apart and waived so long. “Till we meet again my handsome man.” She waved at me. The wind carried my kiss to her ears alone, “I won’t be long I promise.”
Cloud people, that’s what we are.

19 comments:

Isobel said...

What a beautiful story, Abufares! I love the idea of cloud people! Fantastical, whimsical, and romantic. Your gift for writing and a wonderful imagination is so evident in this piece. Bravo! :D

Gabriela said...

I love those words: cloud people. I loved th story too.
I hope having the merits to be considered a cloud person.
Magical words.

abufares said...

@Isobel
I bask in your words of praise. I've found that some of my better posts wrote themselves. Putting them into words was merely like filling in the blanks.
Cloud People are real. They're just hard to find then harder to see :-)

abufares said...

@Gabriela
You're one of the most Cloud People I know!
This state of mental clarity and personal radiance is so rare, once found, we should never let go of.
So happy to see you here, as always, in the clouds:-)

Karin said...

Absolutely beautiful, magical ... fascinating!! Looking back at my life during the last many months and even years, I yearn to be one of them ... to drift, to be weightless, shed all burden and worries, be free in every sense of the word - how wonderful!!

Do you think I can join in? It would be an honor ... and such a bliss!!!

abufares said...

@Karin
Wasn't it you that Tuesday night in the clouds?
Ooops :-D
You're already in my dear friend. We all need to be there sometimes. The lucky ones stay and never leave.

Fantasia said...

this story made me think - I saw that they were together - and then pulled apart. So there is a price to pay for that lightness, that world. There is always a price.

Beautifully crafted my friend - and welcome back.

abufares said...

@Fantasia
Some are lucky to have an occasional glimpse of the clouds. A very few are blessed to stay there for a considerable part of their lives if not all.

Does the fact that there is a parting enhance this lightness? -Perhaps!
Is that an unavoidable price to pay?
-I'm not really sure. I would rather answer it this way. A moment of lightness is worth a whole life overwhelmed by the burden of heaviness.

yaser said...

over the blue skies, into sweet dreams..
lovely words abufares
happy eid:)

Mariyah said...

My dear, Abufares, what a beautiful world - drifting weightlessly, and trouble-free in the mists with the chance of wandering into the gentle arms of your soul-mate now and again. Perhaps I, too, could join this ever-growing group of "cloud people"? Your writing, as always, leaves me in awe.

A happy Eid to you and your family, my friend. All the best.

Katia said...

Happy Eid Abufares, and keep surfing those clouds. It suits you well, being one of those cloud people :-)

abufares said...

@Yasser
Thank you for you joining me in the company of these beautiful ladies in the comment section.
I'm not complaining but I was getting nervous being alone with them. They're all cloud people you know and they have wild unbridled imagination:-)

abufares said...

@Mariyah
You're not only a cloud people, you're my cloud:-)
I'm enjoying your story "Return" on your blog and wait expectantly for each consecutive episode. However, when you're done with it, I have a proposition to make :-)
See you in the clouds...

abufares said...

@Katia
Thank you dear. It suits you too btw:-)
It was awesome ;-)

Ammoontie said...

Dear Abu Fares,
Just would like to wish you and family EID MUBARAK, or as we say it in our language ..."SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI"

abufares said...

@Ammoontie
Happy Eid Fitr to you and yours too. I always enjoy your visit and comments here.
Have a great time :-)

Anonymous said...

My kingdom in the clouds...
love ya'

w.b. yeats

abufares said...

@w.b. yeats


High flying fleet of billowy boats,
Quietly cruising celestial seas.

Windblown wads in whimsical shapes,
Gracefully riding the heavenly breeze.

White-robed Bedouins bound to the sky,
Wandering aimlessly out of my view.

Would that my cares could be as the clouds,
Lifted, wafted, lost in the blue.

© Gene Tagle

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!

w.b. yeats