what happiness feels like

And me? I’m the damn fool that shot him.

AARON BURR [Alexander Hamilton, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton]

“I can’t explain it to you,” she whispers, loud enough to be heard over the silence, “what happiness feels like.”

I ask her to try, for my sake, to draw happiness on the empty ground beneath us. She stands up, suddenly, like her bones rang with the second last church bell signalling the curfew, spits her gum, removes her gun from her front-right pocket, places it a hand’s width apart from her left elbow, and sits on the warm ground. “It feels like the clouds, you know? How we imagine them- soft, bouncy, filled with enough cotton to sleep on, and sprinkled with enough sugar to eat; like the cotton candy ma used to buy us from the carnival each year? That: it feels like white clouds which line the skies of India on summer evenings when the Sun decides to sleep… that’s all I can say, ma chérie.” 

I stare at the sky for a minute, tilt my head along the Earth’s axis, trying to feel all the seasons in ten seconds at my tips, and whisper, “I wanted them to be red, but our professor says they can’t be red because water is blue. I wanted them to be red; how beautiful would a red cloud look! How nice it would be to sleep on a red pillow or eat candies all painted red: it would feel like holding the Sun in our mouths, and swallowing it. How bright we would shine!” 

She allows a throaty chuckle, stretches her legs in front of her, and turns her head towards the sky, “Who says they aren’t red? They are your clouds, ma chérie, your dreams, your happiness. Who says it can’t be red?” She lowers her eyes, fingers playing with the bullets in her pants, and speaks, “Maybe one day, we would all spill enough blood that the water would be red.” 

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