I was given an assignment in school recently. It was a list of "Are you more like...?" with a list of options. My assignment was to pick one, and do a creative writing project with it.
The following is my choice, and the piece I wrote to go along with it.
Are you more like… yellow or blue?
I am blue.
Imagine a gradient from black to blue to white. It is a range of emotion, of feelings. From deep and sad and dark, to light and bright and happy, to everything in between. Each colour is a different memory, from different, various, and scattered parts of life.
Starting in black, in the deepest and darkest moments, in the middle of a moonless night. A 2am sky hearing the screams of nightmares. A sleepless girl slipping out her window in the middle of the summer to lay on the grass and stare at the pinhole stars in the fabric sky, counting them until she feels the sobs subside and exhaustion take over, until she goes back inside, curling up in dark blankets and slipping into a restless sleep in the black of a midnight sky.
Next there is a dusty Phthalo blue, the colour of the dress spotted with daisies worn to her Grandfather’s memorial service, the colour of the flowers atop the casket, the colour of the ill-fitting jacket her father wears. It is the colour of the heavy, hot air, laden with tears and the potent feeling of loss. It is the colour of the sweatshirt she took from her grandfather’s closet when no one was looking, and wears when she misses him the most, curled up in the musty, worn warmth that still smells like him, if she closes her eyes, pictures him, and thinks hard enough.
The grey blue denim that comes next is the shade of the transitions, the faded jeans worn daily, the hems walked off and the rips from numerous trips and falls. It’s the colour of moving on and moving forward. She slips them on, ties up the worn converse, and steps out into the early morning. The grey blue sky, the grey blue jeans, the grey blue girl. It’s the colour before the depression, before the pain and bad memories, before the nightmares. It’s the colour of innocence and no regrets, of childishness and happiness. It’s the colour she misses most.
She touches the cerulean of the lake that comes next. It’s a bittersweet colour, as she dangles her toes above the water as the sailboat cuts through. The water reflects the sky reflects the water. These are the careless and carefree summer days, where all four of them convene on the decks, with non-marking soles, shorts, and life jackets. Sitting in the shade of the jib, smiling into the wind, she almost feels like she doesn’t want to cry.
Next is another boat, another sky. It’s light turquoise, speckled with clouds, and hot. Instead of four on the boat, there’s six, the girl and her sister, the two brothers that are her cousins, and two brothers that are her uncle and father. This blue is pure joy, a short but much-needed break from the dark nights. It’s Christmas, but it feels like summer, with the happiness and the sun and the heat and the boat. This colour is cookies and oranges in the middle of the ocean, Dr. Pepper and Sprite. It’s adventure and bravery and freedom in a bittersweet mix.
Our penultimate blue is the colour of the shirt of the nine-month-old that crawls as best he can on the soft carpeting. It matches her blue-green hair, and the patterns on his blanket. He’s fussy, and tired. Wrapped up in his blanket, she pulls him onto the chair, and he writhes, wriggles, then settles down, tiredness overcoming, as he falls asleep tucked under her chin. This colour is the shade of that kind of exhaustion that comes after a wonderful day, where sleep comes with a smile, and pleasant dreams float through baby blue skies. He sleeps, dressed in blue, wrapped in blue.
The final blue is Alice blue, the blue of wonderland, of early morning skies. Though this blue is rare, it is most often seen after our first shade of blue, after the deepest and darkest moments. After the sleepless nights and the moonless skies, the nightmares and tears. It’s the colour signalling the dawn of a new day, of the blankets she wraps herself in as the sun rises, kissing the treetops. It’s the colour of a 5am card game with her grandpa, unknowingly one of their last. It’s the colour of boat shoes and wrapping paper. It’s one of the most integral colours of our lives, the most important feeling.
It’s the colour of hope.