I wake in the quiet, just as dawn extends her soft hands, slivers of light crawling into my window, caressing my eyes. The world outside my window has stilled, no one has anywhere to go this early. My cat, sensing my awakeness, rumbles and pushes his head against my cheek. Absentmindedly, my fingers flex and curl into his fur, his warmth reassuring.
Beside me, my wife shifts, murmuring in her sleep, and I wonder if she dreams. I stare at the ceiling, feeling my body lie heavily on the bed. I wonder if I will sleep again, I wonder what this new day will hold, I wonder what will be for dinner, I begin a to-do list. I have a silent conversation with my friend, hearing her voice in my head as we wander through the mists in my mind. I wave at her as we part ways, my hand of flesh unconsciously mimicking my imaginary hand, which makes me giggle out loud.
The noise is startling, here in the silence. I feel as though I’ve broken an unspoken vow. I blink in the pale light and peer out the window into the world, cotton candy clouds drifting past. I catch sight of a skywhale and gasp.
I’m moving, rising quickly, excited, heart racing. I pat an apology atop my cat’s protesting head as I slip into my slippers and quietly make my way through the house. I get to the balcony in time to see the skywhale float by, a calf spinning in her wake. They move so gracefully through the clouds, tails swishing, backs arching - I can see the little one as he interrupts a V of birds. The birds squawk their frustrations, but they know it’s a waste of time, and after the slightest of hesitation they rise up, up, high above the whales before regrouping.
I’ve heard about the skywhales, of course. They’ve been spotted here and there along the coastal regions since the end of the last era. But here? Here in the space between yesterday and today, I am delighted beyond reason to see them for myself.
As the pair make their slow, graceful path past my balcony, the little one darts near enough to make eye contact with me. I am instantly weeping, moved by the gentle wisdom and depth of heart reflected in his tiny giant eye. I stand motionless, in awe, watching til they’re out of sight beyond the rising sun.
I make my way back to bed. It's darker than I remember, here just before the day begins. I am startled to see myself lying there, snuggled in between cat and wife - I gasp, and in that moment, I am gone.