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bookNoctilucent Clouds

A short story by Michelle Summ

I had seen these clouds before.

Noctilucent clouds. Clouds that glow eerily at night. When the sun disappears beyond the horizon, when the world seems that it will soon plunge into darkness, the remaining light brings shining glory to the sky.

Scientists can’t fully explain these clouds but my heart can. These clouds appear when I think all is lost; just as the hope in my life, like the sun, fades beyond the horizon. They reignite my faith in life.

This time they came when I think I needed them most.

My sister is leaving. I’ve always known the day would come but when it did, when she said it out loud, I could feel my heart shatter. We’ve been best friends for all our lives.

We see each other every day and when we fight it only lasts until one of us have something funny to say. Which usually isn’t long. But now that was all over I’d see her now once a week at most. The thought scared me.

So here I was, a seventeen-year-old-sneaking out after dinner, driving twenty miles to Lake Louise and hoping to see those soaring, mesospheric tendrils.

Suddenly I heard the crunch of gravel under tires behind me. I turned around to see my sister’ car pulling up. She stopped, got out and came over to sit next to me on the lake’s shore.

“I know this won’t be easy,” she whispered, breaking the silence.
“But we’ll see each other more often than you think.”

“Yeah, I know. You’re always right, aren’t you,” I whispered back.

“Yep. And you’re always wrong.”

She stuck her tongue out and we laughed together like we always used to.

I now knew that things would be different but that didn’t mean the future was bleak.

Once again those mysterious clouds pulled through for me.

Published July 6, 2009. Submitted 3 July 2009