“The sky is green, you know,” the child says. “No, really. Look.”
I look and see nothing but blue. The child tugs on my jacket as I squint against the sun beaming into my eyes; white-hot yellow nestled into a sea of blue. Kids.
“See,” he repeats. I raise my eyebrow and look down at the child who simply came from nowhere. I was walking back from lunch with my briefcase firmly in my hand when he just appeared and said his silly child’s statement.
“I only see blue. Where are your parents?” I ask, stepping away so the small child will let go of my jacket. “I need to get back to work.”
The blonde haired boy turned his eyes away from the still blue sky to me. “They used to say it was blue too. But I know they were crazy. You just got to look a little bit harder.” His expression never changes. It is blank, emotionless, his mouth a straight line.
I roll my eyes and sigh. “Okay,” I say. “Where are your parents?”
I should walk away; I know I should. But this kid looks like he hasn’t had a good meal in a week and his eyes keep staring at the sky and me. I can’t leave him until he goes to bother somebody else. I tap my foot in impatience as I look at the blue sky with exactly two clouds. “How old are you?”
“Eight.” I look as he answers. “The sky is green, you know. No, really.” He grabs my hand. “Look.”
“You must be colorblind,” I say and pull my hand away, disgusted at the child’s clammy flesh. “The sky is blue. Stop this. Where are your parents?”
Now the boy shows emotion for the first time. Sighing, he sits on the sidewalk where gum is pressed into the grey and cold cement. His chin rests in his hands as he looks up at me. “You know, I asked everybody on the street if they could see the green. You’re the only one that stayed.”
Damn it. Something tells me to stay. One last chance to talk sense into him. Maybe it’s his sad demeanor, his eyes staring up at the blue sky, or the fact that his words are heavy in my mind: heavy and cloying and uncomfortable. I squat and set my briefcase on the ground. My shoes shine in the sunlight and I take off my hat as I look at his face, his eyes upturned. “Hey, I say, look, I don’t see the green sky. It’s blue. But I can take you somewhere to get you help or find your parents. I’m not in that much of a rush.”
He does not answer. He sits there only seeing a green sky. I remain silent; the sound of a busy street at 1 o’clock on a Tuesday is a mere muffle of background static. I do not know how long we sit crouched like this. I imagine that the boy thought of one thing, and one thing only: The sky is green.
“The sky is green,” he says. Then, he looks at me and a chill runs down my backbone. My hands are the clammy ones now. The boy’s face changes to a smile from the neutral and unnerving expression he shown before. His smile misses five teeth and his eyes glimmer. “You were nice. That’s not enough to save you though. The sky is green, you know,” he says. “No, really. Look.”
I look and the sky is green.