"You know that singer you like, what’s-his-name, James Mac?” a girl told another in advisement.
“What about him?” the other girl, Shelle Stanley, demanded. She was ready to defend him against mean remarks.
“His wife died.”
Shelle’s sight went blank. She saw her friend sitting there, placidly telling her the news, but her mind whirled around and around, confused.
“What? That’s not true! She got better!” Shelle leaned her head onto her hands, propping up her chin defiantly.
In her mind, she was screaming, “Not Lindy—no, Lindy got better—Mommy and Daddy would have told me—they would have told me—they know Lindy—not my cousin—Lindy’s fine!”
“Is so true,” Shelle’s friend, Halley Halsey told her. “Didn’t you watch the news?”
“No, I didn’t watch anything all weekend.”
“Well, just thought I’d tell you.”
“Tell me!” Shelle’s voice rose. “You told me, just like that! She can’t be—she can’t—”
“Gosh, Shelle,” Halley said, rolling her eyes. “Get over it.”
Shelle, too stunned to give a retort, gave Halley one murderous glare, and then gathered her things. The bell rang and she dashed out of her classroom, hearing Halley’s voice yelling behind her.
She walked into her first-period class and put her things away. Then she went to get her art bin out of the cupboard and collided into one of her friends.
“Sorry, Natalie,” Shelle said apologetically.
“It’s no big deal,” Natalie answered. “Y’know, James Mac is single now.”
“I know,” Shelle moaned, and then fled to her seat, thinking of Lindy, who reminded Shelle of willow trees, and of James, who was clothed in colours and music, in colours because that was how Shelle thought. She pictured him, and her regular colours for him were vibrant, bright colours and now they were muted, because of the sadness. But Lindy’s colours were beautiful and singing, paled not by a life lost. It only seemed to enhance them.
All day her thoughts were with James and Lindy and she discovered a bit of astonishing news: Lindy had died on the same exact day that Shelle had been thinking of her and James and writing the tribute poem. It was a little spooky. Shelle, who loved James as an uncle and Lindy as an aunt, vowed that she was going to meet James someday—but now her chances seemed less.
A week went by and found Shelle still full of thoughts of the pair. She brooded over them; they became a part of her dreams and she saw them laughing and happy...
Thinking of them so much drew aside a curtain that hung between Shelle and the Macs. Shelle stared into space for a very long time, unblinkingly, and then the wall in front of her eyes couldn’t be seen. She was deep within her mind and she saw a thin curtain flutter and expose the lands and oceans that separated them. She went back into the past, to the day of Lindy’s death and saw everything: James talking to Lindy and then moaning after she had flown away from Earth. Shelle put out her arm to comfort James, but her arm went through him and then she blinked. The blink pulled her out of the Macs’ home and the curtain fell back into place; but Shelle had carried away a memory of the days past.
She tried to put them out of her mind, but she found that she could not. They were always in the back of her mind. Shelle decided that she would go to a secluded spot in the hills by her house and thrash everything out. She went, as soon as school was out, and walked along the little winding paths and James’s song about roads traveled through Shelle’s smooth golden-brown head. Shelle was a writer, and quickly made up a few verses of the song that Nature sang around her.
That winds through the clover
Everyone walks on it
Without knowing what they’re walking over.
Life is like a road
Shelle thought to herself that it wasn’t a great “short” poem, but it was pretty good for being made up on the spot. For one fleeting moment, she looked at the landscape around her and hadn’t a thought of James and Lindy. And then Shelle remembered the landscape she had seen on the couple’s farm.
She looked at the sky, at the pure, deep blue that reflected in the grayish-blue-green-gold-brown of her eyes. The sun shone warmly on her back and then she faced the heavens.
“It isn’t fair,” she said. “Why should the sun shine so happily here and the sky be so blue?” Then the veil, the curtain, fluttered again and Shelle got one look.
“The sun’s warmth reminds him of her sunny smile and the sky reflects her eyes. But something is blinding him…something is making the sky gray…” The something Shelle was speaking of was speaking through her. Shelle’s lips were merely forming the words, but the something was telling her something by talking in her voice…and something reached across the ocean and into a lonely man’s home…