Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
The color of my life is red. It pulses, explodes, jarring pain and violent love. It tempts Snow White, burns her lips with tabasco sauce and red pepper juice. We all know the story, and we whisper, “Don’t do it”, and we watch as she does it anyway. It’s the feeling of velvet on your skin, rich and overwhelming and heated. It loves and it destroys and it collapses.
The color of my life is orange. It pops, sparks, fizzing fragility and fleeting moments. It floats dying leaves gently to the ground, burns our noses with the smell of spice and loneliness. We all love the colors, wait to watch the trees sag to the ground, shedding their tears, and we crunch them underfoot. It’s the feeling of emptiness and longing, deep sunsets and tall moons. It exposes and it carves and it stings.
The color of my life is yellow. It bursts, melts, gentle whispers and sticky honey. It plays with sunshine, dances in the road and ignores all the cars. It’s the softness of a butterfly carried along by the breeze, caution signs and lightning strikes. It’s the melody of the birds flying through the air, sunflowers growing to face each other. It sings and it cries and it feels.
The color of my life is green. It gasps, screams, racing heart and broken head. It shelters the lost, dark shadows hiding faces and reflective eyes. People pick flowers to watch them fall apart, a small breath of the world they know they’ll never see. It grows wild, entangling and encompassing and climbing up the bark. It overtakes and it suffocates and it lives.
The color of my life is blue. It drowns, overcomes, bubbles underwater and muffled desperation. It holds your face, whispers, “it’s okay to let go,” drains the tears from your eyes and pulls the sobs from your throat. I want to hide from it, the all-knowing infinity, the cloudless sky and the endless sea. It tugs at our guts, lulls us to safety, rips us apart. It soothes and it swells and it falls.
The color of my life is purple. It crystalizes, hardens, mounting grief and formless compassion. It resonates through memories, quiet lavender and open fields. It is the place we have never been but the one we all strive for, wraps a cooling wind around us for comfort and boils a pot of tea. It’s the calm smell in the air that puts us at ease, glass bottles clinking together as we riffle through the shelves. It mends and it heals and it lasts.
When the colors are combined, people wish for a rainbow. That isn’t what they make. They fight and strangle one another, scar and wound. Things become muddied, indistinct, dulled. A grayness overshadows, expansive and thrashing. It meets us in an alleyway, hot kisses and rough brick against our backs. It blinds us and burns us, holds our gaze as it runs us over and paralyzes us. You had a dream to be a mother, a teacher, an adventurer. You raced up trees and giggled and stole cookies. You longed to fit in and you longed to stand out. It writes letters to the girl who moved away, pounds on the door of heads and bleeds white-hot pain from eyes.
I am not sure my life means anything. When a leaf shakes in the breeze, the last on bare branches, is it bravery or foolishness? I am not here anymore— I am not sure that I exist. The migraines hammer nails into my skull, and the glowing stars on the walls are stabbingly bright. I never knew such a soft glow could feel like this. Felix will be back soon. He gets off work at five. But I do not want him to see me like this— I do not want to be like this. I am not sure I even want to be.
You flash through my mind again, your smile and small hands on hips, wiggling with untamable energy and joy. The dare in your voice, watching you try to prove so hard you belonged. How could you not see you did? How could you not see you did more than me? I must’ve been lost, even then. I can’t remember it, but I think I had to be. I can’t remember a time before this, before you. Did a time like that exist? Does a time like that ever exist for people like us, people like me?
I wonder if there was a time before the grayness. I wonder if there was a time before the colors melted, swirling and pooling together down the sides of a canvas. Could they be pointed to individually? Could they be called out by name? They are too intertwined now, too connected and linked. I do not think I could separate them if I tried— I do not think I would. The grayness is dull and faded, and still my eyes burn in a completely darkened room. How much worse would this pain be in the full light of day? In the full light of a rainbow this bright, gnawing, starving and desperate? I don’t think I could bear it. I don’t think I can bear it as it is.
Every time I close my eyes, I hear you saying my name. You shortened it, sped past it with fast-moving lips, earnest to say every thought you had in your head. “Clay!” A squeal, a scream, a hug barreling into me, child bodies knocked to the ground and the air knocked out of me. That innocence that I strive for, the one I wish I could yank back, the one the colors stole, the one you grabbed and ran away with in a childhood game of chicken. It’s okay. I know you didn’t take it on purpose— I forced it into your hands, blinding sun and glowing stars. A growing grayness that stains like coffee on teeth.
I do not think I can live like this. I do not think I can live. Felix will be back soon— but my brain hurts too much to think, and my eyes burn too much to look for the good in this. I’ve looked for too long. I just want to rest. The glowing stars on the ceiling draw tears to my eyes, and I want to tear them down. Oh God, please let it not end like this. Please, I do not want it to end like this. I do not want it to end. Kill me tomorrow— let me live tonight.
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