“So what do you think it looks like?” she asks.
We’re head to head, lying on the grass, staring up at the clouds rolling by.
“I don’t know. Maybe a kangaroo?”
“No way,” she says, “that’s not a kangaroo. It’s a bowling pin wobbling just before it tips over.”
I don’t see this.
“Geez,” she says, “you have no imagination.”
I am hurt, yet I say nothing.
“How about that one over there?”
She points, I follow her finger to what appears to be a bowling pin wobbling before it topples over, but if I did say that, she’d again accuse me of having no imagination, and with quite good evidence to back it up.
“Hmmm,” I say, trying not to think of a wobbling bowling pin. Very much like being told not to imagine a blue elephant. I make my mind go blank, then focus. “I think maybe it looks like my dog Larry chasing his tail.”
“Bwahahah,” she bursts out. “That’s the stupidest thing you’ve said so far today.”
I think this implies that I’ve said perhaps innumerable things today that she considers stupid. I feel hurt again, yet again I say nothing.
“Obviously,” she says, “it’s my cat Banana. Why would I even ask you what it looked like if I didn’t think it looked like Banana?”
I am supposed to know that she has pointed this one out because it looks like Banana. Would it then be obvious to anyone with imagination, anyone but I who knew her cat that this cloud resembled Banana?
I think about Banana. I look at the cloud. Even though it is breaking up now, it still resembles a blasted bowling pin wobbling around before it falls over.
“How is Banana?” I ask, not having had the honor of laying eyes upon the yellow slug recently.
“Oh, he’s okay. I don’t know. It seems like he sleeps a lot more than he used to. I guess he’s getting old.”
She pauses. I watch the clouds.
“I don’t know what I would do if he died. If I could have my way, I’d die before him so I wouldn’t have to live without him. He’s the love of my life.”
She pauses again. I must say, this has moved me some.
“How is Larry?” she asks.
I hesitate, wonder what she will think of me, whether she’ll berate me. “He, ah, he died last week.”
“Oh no,” she says, rolling over so she’s on her stomach, looking at my upside-down face. “I’m so sorry to hear that.”
I try to sound a bit emotionally distraught. “I miss him so much,” I manage. “Terribly much.”
“Oh, I totally understand,” she says. “Pets, you know, they’re better than people.”
“I know what you mean.” And right about now I mean it more than I can tell you.
“Look, look,” I say, pointing at another cloud. “Now that one, that one definitely looks like Banana.”
She flips over again. “Oh no no no. That’s Larry, can’t you see that? It’s Larry’s ghost watching over you, honey.”
“Yes, yes, right you are, I can see that,” I say. And I kind of mean it. It’s the first thing we’ve actually agreed upon all day.
You know, I have to say I’m not really enjoying this honeymoon as much as I thought I would. People always tell you what a great time these post-wedding jaunts can be. I have to say the event doesn’t quite seem to live up to the expectation.
“Honey,” she says, “do you ever wonder about why we met?”
“Huh? How so?”
“Well, there are so many people in the world. We’re all like so many clouds, you know? Of all the clouds in the sky, why did fate bring are two clouds together?”
I look up at the clouds, really can’t think of a thing to say, watch them break apart and disappear into nothingness.