He had always been a demure boy. With a comely smile and chatoyant eyes, he stood out from his exuberant siblings despite his attempts to always blend into the wallpaper. As his family dressed in pretty clothes and entertained guests, he would be reading in the shade of the sleepy old willow. He never seemed aware of his surroundings because he was too busy picking out shapes in the sky. Even with both feet planted firmly on the ground, he always walked on clouds.
The day he first looked down was when they put his mother in the ground. He cut himself off from the sobs of his sisters and the wail of his father and listened to the evanescent whispers of the wind instead. His eyes followed the dried leaves skipping skywards through the wind and lingered on the clouds, breathing a sigh of relief as he found his place again.
The next time he lost sight of the clouds was when his eyes fell on the full red lips of a woman too skinny and too pale for the ethereal glow she seemed to exude. He held her through midnight blues and chilly dawns. Kissed the freckles on her shoulders and murmured words of how her lips reminded him of the sunrise skies and twilight. And when she kissed him with sunset-red lips and told him to never take his eyes off the horizon, he knew as she did, that it was the last time. He watched her lissome steps as the clouds decided to cry his tears for him.
He learned to keep his eyes on the ground. Walking listlessly through the years, oblivious to the change as his hair took on the same hue as the soft white clouds above. As he stood under the sleepy willow he kept his eyes on the horizon one last time. The wind murmured long-lost promises as the setting sun spoke of soft dawns and twilight lips. As he laid himself down he lifted his gaze up to the clouds. They welcomed him as if he were a long-lost child who had found his way home. The torn yellow pages of old books freed themselves from the ancient willow branches. And he closed his eyes as the ephemeral rustling enveloped him.