Κυριακή, 15 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

THE CLOUD IN THE ROOM


He had spent too many nights of thought and study. He had made too many plans. He tried mathematical calculations with what he had learned at school by then. He used all the instruments he had from ruler to protractor. He tried to calculate, measure, make a map, make a list with all the materials that he would need. The plan was risky, demanded the highest degree of concentration and attention but when achieved it would be his greatest accomplishment. His friends would admire him and talk about him with respect, his teacher would make him speak in class. Girls and especially Louisa with her freckles would think of him but the most important of all would be that she would embrace him and feel proud of him. He would call her from the room next door or maybe the kitchen where she would be in her apron and he would show it to her. He would be the only kid having trapped a cloud in his room. His mom would be surprised but maybe after a while she would go to her room and let a tear roll down her cheek in deep sentimental mood. Just like when he had his New Year’s Eve celebration at school and he got confused with the poem’s lines he was saying.
He had though that he would take a picture. His dad had the camera in his drawer. He knew how to use it. He would close the window so that it wouldn’t leave. That would be the first thing he would do and then take a picture. He would sit with it and see what it was made of. He would put a bit of its tail in a jar just to remember and study it. Does it look like cotton? Will it dissolve when touched? Will he have to put the jar in the refrigerator to reach the temperature of the sky? And what if he was wrong? Still to put it in the fridge seemed right. He would stay with it and he might find a formula to keep it with him forever, to grow up with him, to change shapes like he will change moods. In the meantime however, he had to take it down from the sky. He didn’t want to ask the adults for help. They would taunt him and when time would come he would like to have done it all by himself.

He tried to catch it every afternoon when everyone was asleep in the house. He had to find a way until the opening of the school but the summer was ending and he still hadn’t worked it out. He tried to pull it with the magnets that they had on the fridge with his photos and drawings on. It didn’t come. He tried to trap it with its shadow and he drew its idol on a sheet on the courtyard. He had read it in a book and believed that it would work. His mom scolded him so much for this thoughtlessness. He made a map to open up a road for it but it didn’t come. No matter which method used. It changed its form and ran away.
The last day he made his decision. He stood at his window and stared at it. He felt that he had failed. He was still too young to make it without the proper knowledge. Maybe this year when they would study the fractions could be useful but still a lot of time would be wasted. And now the cloud was passing slowly from the courtyard of his house. So white, so playful, so innocent. He felt it his own. The moment was his. He talked to it as he watched it. He talked tenderly about his efforts during the summer to bring it down in vain because he is so small. He talked about his mom and Louisa, his teacher and his classmates and he asked if it would be a good idea to keep a part of it in the fridge. The words came out strongly, forming sentences and meanings full of truth. It was as if a huge weight left him for the secret he kept and couldn’t complete. It was as if he whispered it only to the cloud that had almost stopped moving and listened to him, throwing its shadow to the garden. And for a moment he felt that it listened. He wanted it to hear everything and then leave. Would it make him a favor and lower a bit just to touch it? He wouldn’t shut it in the room, he promised.
He didn’t know what would happen during the summers of the rest of his life and he would surely forget many moments through the years. He would then understand that clouds cannot be trapped in children’s rooms, an elusive image when you lift your head and see the sky. He would definitely forget Louisa’s freckles and his father’s camera. But he was certain that he would always remember this scene by the window that summer when he was trying to pull his first major plan in life. In that room that now seemed large and in a few years it would struggle him. He would always remember the moment he spoke in such a true and warm way with something so faint. For a minute there he almost believed that he could make it happen. He would always remember that moment for the hope within and for that sparkle flickering. For as long as the image of a cloud in a courtyard lasts.

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