In the Golden Haze

You’re standing there, next to the rusty black fence, looking out into the distance. I set my bag down and join you. When you notice me, you look up with your deep brown eyes and give me a big smile. Your mask is falling, so I lift it for you and give the wire a little pinch. You always laugh and say it tickles when I do that. We turn back towards the fence and look towards the sky. Silver haze engulfs the air and the mountains that were once so clear fade into the background. It’s pollution, but despite that, it looks almost beautiful. As I turn my gaze away from the diluted blue of the sky, you grab my wrist. 

“If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?” you ask. I look at you for a second, unsure of where to start, before I say,

“I’ll tell you later.”

I stare back out at the haze. The wind suddenly picks up and blows some dust into your face. I see your eyes water as you rapidly blink. Our parents arrive to pick us up, and the car’s headlights illuminate the dust and transform it into a cloud of glitter.

The car is quiet. Tranquil. You’re looking at your magazine, “A Million Dreams” peacefully plays from the radio, and the road softly hums beneath us. I stare out the window towards the mountains, still behind the silver haze. The sun starts setting and the haze shines golden, tinting the mountains behind it a gentle amber. I sit there, awestruck by how beautiful pollution can be if put under the right light. Then, in the golden haze, I spot something. It swirls around and pictures start forming as if someone was using an invisible brush to paint them. I see myself playing Uno with you and your friends at your birthday party. I see myself in my room working, and you coming upstairs to bring me to call me to dinner. I see us together, sitting on the couch, laughing as we talk about funny scenes from movies. The fog swirls around again and I see new images. Us when we were young, endlessly giggling as we played with the train set and gleefully licking popsicles by the pool as we tried not to get splashed. 

I blink for a second, and when I look back out the window, everything is once again enveloped with the silver haze. I lean back into the seat cushion and feel a slight smile emerging on my face. Despite everything life throws at me, the only things I truly remember and care about are the memories that make me smile; the memories in the golden haze.

My wish is obvious now…because I already have it.

The haze still hangs above, but just like before, I find it almost beautiful. Maybe even more beautiful.

Photo Credits: Calvin Weibel – Unsplash

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