Her wrinkled hand stretched up into the air, shielding her eyes from the sun’s brilliant gaze. The old woman sighed and felt her body sink deeper into the plush grass. A horse. A mermaid. A pair of high heels. A dragon. It was all there, she had learned from the best. He always saw things in those floating white shapes she could never imagine. The blades of grass did not bend under his weight as they used to. She missed him, but he was gone. So she gazed up at the sky alone.
He exhaled smoke from his thin lips. Gray swirls proclaimed his defiance. She turned, reaching for the cigarette. He tore a fistful of grass out of the ground where he lay and threw it playfully into her hair. She laughed and rolled away, asking him if he found anything yet.
“I think so,” he said, taking another long drag. “Ah yes, look there. I see a man sitting at an easel, painting with his left hand. See it?” She just shook her head, reveling in his imagination.
The girl’s legs tickled from the sway of dandelions in the summer breeze. Her head tilted up to the sky, she plucked one gently and blew countless little seeds into the air. The sun played hide and seek with them that day. As it disappeared behind yet another cloud, she saw a form illuminated in the sky. The sun lit up a pony just for her. She squealed with delight and extended her little arm up at the sky to show him.
His pudgy hands stretched toward the clouds as if to grab the soft, white teddy bear he found. She laughed, reaching up to tug a drooping blue ribbon from her messy curls.
“Oh! I see another one! It looks like a lollipop!” she said, pointing enthusiastically.
“No Nina, it’s definitely a spaceship with an astronaut in the window,” he replied.
She just shook her blonde head; it still looked like a lollipop. Reaching over, she sought to hold his comforting hand. But he was already up and running down the hill as fast as his 6-year-old legs permitted.
The little girl pushed herself up, yelling, “Wait for me, big brother!”