Sunny Afternoons

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon on a mild spring day. She sat looking out the window, wearing a sweater, too large and too hot for the climate, and she had it wrapped about herself, like a hug, swallowing her whole. She was smiling, but fat tears were in her eyes.

He saw her from the doorway and was about to walk past when the light caught on one of her tears and he paused. Uncertain, he entered the room wearing a mask of concern and worry.

She did not acknowledge his presence as he stood behind her for long moments. He opened his mouth several times to ask what was wrong, but he found the words lost in his throat.

Finally, he cleared his throat from his recycled words. “It’s a beautiful day,” he said, the words thick on his tongue.

She blinked and two tears rolled down the slopes of her cheekbones. “I despise sunny days,” she said softly, smile never wavering.

At a loss for words, he waited for her to continue.

“Afternoons like this are the kinds where lovers meet, when picnics are held, when families play together. They are the kinds of afternoons where birds sing and where laughter can be heard emitting from everywhere. They remind me of laziness and good food and music that would play on the radio during long car rides. They are a time for napping and a time for kissing.”

She turned and looked at him, smile falling from her face like a rain drop. “Afternoons like these remind me of afternoons I spent with him. They remind me of emptiness and forgetfulness and wasted hopes. You look out there and tell me you see a sunny afternoon, but all I see is cloudy evenings where he called me by the wrong name. I see rainy mournings when I would wake up to an empty bed beside me. I see windy nights where I was thankful for the sound against my window because the silence grew too loud. I don’t see sunny afternoons anymore; I see a thousand memories.”

And he looked out the window and imagined that yes, the sky had grown darker, the wind had picked up, the birds had stopped chirping as her words touched his ears. He rubbed her shoulders and let her cry for a few moments, unable to tell her that she is the reason he still sees sunny afternoons.

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