The clouds looked as if they had been painted by a child today. Bright blue sky with titanium white squiggled lumps of fluff. Their playful innocence made me smile; they turned back time to a schoolyard smelling of freshly cut grass and rain. I saw the girl in the gingham summer dress, masquerading as a cloud herself; effervescent yet invisible, a body with a heartbeat taken for granted. At times, she moved softly, other times, swiftly – the wings of a bird before they are clipped.
I remember how frequently she pondered the possibility of life after death. Reincarnation was her favourite. The only option which didn’t sound like a trap; but the opportunity to be more than herself. A chance to shed her scales, her down, her doubts and misgivings about the face she confronted each morning in the mirror. She wondered if eventually the mask would fit. Not heirloom ring with thread wrapped tightly around the band. Loose enough to breathe but not to lose.
It did fit, eventually. She grew into its sharp edges and gossamer centre. Gingham was her armour, before the short skirt, body-con, floral tea dresses and hair which shielded her profile. The body with a heart taken for granted, cloud-like, invisible, a spine bearing the scars of where her wings used to be.
The clouds bore the innocence of a gingham dress today. And all I want, is to be reincarnated as fresh rain and feathers which breathe.
Photograph & prose: © Kristiana Reed 2019