Blue Skies (capstone challenge)

Today would be different Tye said to himself as he dusted off the shoulders of his grey hoody. It was imaginary dander he was batting away, the jesture represented the removal of the emptiness of this life he had chosen, this path of destruction that led him to drugs, to the gang membership, to the accidental death of a six year old girl caught in the crossfire of a drive by shooting, to his dawning realization that he would die young, riddled with guilt and shame.

Today he was headed to the tattoo parlor to cover over the tats that marked him as a gang member. It wasn’t enough to erase everything, but he knew it was a start. The joyful soul of his life before everything went wrong deserved better than what he had done to it, what he did after he locked it up and threw away the key. He would find that key again, no matter how far he had to travel, how far he had to beg, how far he had to pray.

When the tattoo parlor had finished the first few alterations he headed over to see his grandfather. His grandfather was a good and decent man, and the only male role model he had ever known. Tye knew that confessing his sins to him would be one of the hardest things he would ever have to do. His grandfather would be so disappointed in this wreck of a grandson, this grandson he had taught to walk, had taught to think, this grandson he taught what it was to be a man, not the failure he had become.

Tye was in tears before he ever made it to the headstone in the cemetery, by the time he made it to his grandfather he was babbling and crying like the little boy he used to be, the little boy he needed back in his life, snot and tears included.

After hours or days Tye leaned back and looked up at the May sky. It was a wonderful shade of blue, a blue that was just on the verge of becoming the most beautiful blue it would ever be, a blue caught in the in- between, a blue that he could see himself in. A life caught in between, a sky caught in between, Tye smiled.

Memorial day was just around the corner, and Tye felt a moment of regret for not remembering to bring flowers, but only just for a moment. His grandfather would forgive him, he had already forgave him everything, so with a kiss and a smile Tye was off and running, running to the blue he was going to be.

Back in town Tye rounded the bus stop on the corner of 5th and Broadway and ran into a familiar face.”Hey man I been waitin hours for your ass, what kind of dope you got today?” Tye looked at the kid in the red cap that was yelling at him and smiled.

“Here’s the dope kid, and it’s free. Don’t buy anymore shit from anyone on this corner or any other corner for that matter. Don’t hang around like you’ve got nothing to do but wait for the next fix, because the next fix is never the last and you’ll wait away your whole life until it is. Go back to school. Go home and keep your Momma and your sisters safe, it’s what real men do. And if you have a grandpa tell him “thankyou”. If you don’t have one find one, there are plenty out there just waiting for you.”

Tye started to run again but he turned back one last time. “And Kid? Check out the color of the sky once in awhile!” and with that he was gone.


Puzzled, the kid in the red cap tilted his head up for just a minute and he saw blue. Blue. He didn’t register that his red cap had fallen onto the pavement as he got up and walked away, he was too busy looking at blue.

The red cap would be trampled on and run over many times before it disappeared forever, but it’s time was over anyway. It was Blue’s turn now, and red washed away in a quiet spring rain.


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