To Touch the Sun – A Poem

He got onman on bus

the bus wearing

a smile. I

called out to him.


He gave me

a vague wave

but his smile

widened. I had

heard him mumble

a few words,

a few syllables,

to himself. Sometimes,

when he did

speak, it was

stilted, as if

the words were

weighed down by

memory and he

was unable to

pull them out.

I knew that

he was mentally

disabled but I

didn’t know what

kind. It didn’t

matter. I always

saw people looking

when he mumbled,

when he shuffled

to find his

seat, when he

made noises at

the back of

his throat. People

would stare at

me when I

spoke to him,

as if apologizing

for the fact

that he was

speaking to me.

He sat in

the seat behind

me. We rode

this way for

a minute or two,

me in my

seat, he in

his, until he

said to me:

“Do you ever wonder what makes the clouds glow so brightly?”

I turned to

face him. He

was staring out

the window at

the early morning

sunrise with childlike

wonder. I shrugged.

“I don’t know. I think the sun has something to do with that.”

He touched the

window, drew a

finger along the

glass as if

he were able

to touch the sun.

“The clouds always look happiest when they’re orange. I like red clouds fine, but they look happiest when they’re orange and the air outside is crisp.”

He took a

deep breath as

if he could

smell the air

outside instead of

the stale air

inside a bus.

“Or when the clouds are yellow. They look so happy, so full of joy. I want to be happy like that, bright like the clouds.

He took a

deep breath as

if he would

never get his wish.

“I remember when my mother used to take me out to play as a child. The sky was always pink when I was with her. I don’t like purple though.”

I had been

mesmerised by his

voice. It was

the most I

had ever heard

him speak.

“Why don’t you like the colour purple?”

He looked away

from the window

and right at

me. I saw

right into his

eyes, they were

a deep and

gorgeous blue, so

clear that it

seemed he could

see into me.

“The clouds were purple on the morning my mother died.”

I’m shocked by

his words and

there doesn’t seem

to be anything

I can say.

I try anyways.

“I’m sorry.”

I mutter lamely.

“Don’t be sorry. Whenever I see pink clouds, its my mother saying hello.”

The silence is

broken only by

the sounds of

the bus and

other passengers. I

think he’s fallen

silent when he

speaks once more.

“It’s my mother saying hello.”

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