Nothing sounded more appealing at that time than a chance to get off campus and see my dearest friend and her baby girl, so my Camry and I began the voyage as soon as I could muster. I don't think I even packed anything except a toothbrush.
Star was renting the basement of a spunky middle-aged Asheville hippie who once casually excused herself (as we sat chatting upstairs in her living room) to go smoke some weed and then came back and asked us to continue our story. We didn't agree with her all the time, but we enjoyed her company and she was a kind landlord for Star, which was excellent, given the close proximity in which they were living.
Even mundane tasks like going to the grocery store are magical when you do them with a best friend. As we grazed through the aisles of Earth Fare, I stumbled upon a henna body art kit. Star and I looked at each other with glee. This was going to be fun.
Oh, and it was! We got too carried away, after Adelaide had gone to sleep in the other room. Star hennaed a funky, non-traditional, masterpiece from my fingertips to my shoulder on my right arm, and from my toes to my knee on my left leg. Did we stop at that? Of course not! We then broke into Star's collection of MAC eye makeup and moved on to painting some kind of robot, Egyptian, fairy, space crusader style on our eyes and then faces.
We finally fell asleep in her bed to the sound of Friends playing on the TV in the background. Her Golden Retriever/Cocker Spaniel mix puppy, Penelope, snuggled between us. Us, with saran-wrap around our arms and legs to keep the henna where we wanted it as it dried and set. We did our best to sleep with our faces away from the pillows so as to mess up the groundbreaking art on our faces as little as possible.
Never have I loathed class so much as when it called me away from my dear ones. Alas, in the morning (after removing saran-wrap and rinsing off excess henna), I forced myself back into my car to go back to Cullowhee. A cup of coffee for the road and a hug from Star. Sweet goodbye kisses from Adelaide, and I was off.
It was an hour or so of a drive. I settled in and turned on the radio. About half an hour in, "Somebody to Love" by Queen came on. I was bopping and singing along, when all of the sudden, I did something that is just so embarrassing to admit. I hollered to my kind and loving Lord, "Yeah Poppa! What about me?! Can you find me somebody to love?!". I then threw my hands in the air (which, granted, is a terrible idea whilst driving) to show Him with my actions that I was having a big feeling about this. It was at this moment that I looked up from the road at the sky only to see something that I only wish I had had a camera for. Also, someone else in the car to take a picture would have been handy.
Truly, though, it wouldn't have happened, had I not been alone. I wouldn't have been getting so embarrassingly honest, and I wouldn't have looked up and noticed. Another plain fact is that what I saw made me too annoyed to have even thought about a camera if I had been carrying one. Annoyed, exasperated, and the tiniest bit of playfully offended.
It was clouds. Clouds that just happened to be perfectly shaped like an elephant. Beyond that, due to it being morning and those clouds being caught in the rays of a sunrise, it was a pink elephant. It was a perfect pink elephant. It was all there, the tusks, the trunk, four legs shaped as if it was running, ears, tail.
And deep in my spirit rumbled, "Joseph". It wasn't audible, but it kind of felt audible. I looked around to see where it came from, even.
"No!" I shouted, "Not Joseph! You are SO messing with me right now!"
It felt like God had scrumfled my hair mischievously and ran away laughing. If I wasn't driving I would have crossed my arms. Part of me was stunned and amazed, another part was annoyed and offended, and still another part wanted to join in the laughter.
Well, this was uncomfortable. I changed the radio station and tried to forget about it.
Once at school, I begrudgingly found a parking spot as close to the building my class was in as I could.
I hadn't time to go back to my dorm, much less do a thing about myself before class. The incredulous stares were par for the course, I supposed, suppressing grins to myself as I thought about how silly I looked, and what a sister Star was to me. Not thinking about pink elephants, of course. Not thinking about things left unspoken that grow into awkward glances. Nope, I wasn't even going there.
Child development in the context of their education would have my undivided attention that morning.
Oh who was I kidding? I could never focus in that class. How would I keep my mind off that morning's events? Oh! I know! I wrote a note and passed it to Kentucky.
Thankfully, she was well acquainted with my trouble-making side, and was as bored with this class period's topic as I was.
There would be no more obsessing over colorful clouds for me that morning.