By Simmerly Hardage
She came into the world white. When she was born, she was a white cloud, dressed in her white frilly dress, finally away from the scratchy white sheets from the hospital.
She used to go to the beach when she was a kid. She ran around in the sand, clear blue skies overhead and the vast blue ocean around her. Dressed in her blue bathing suit, she ate the blue, sticky Popsicle that melted down her arms. Melted sugar dripped onto the sand. Those were the simple time. Her emotions were nothing more than being happy with her parents and watching Blues’ Clues on TV. Then she grew up.
She used to get into the yellow taxi on her way to work every day. Once out of college, she jumped straight into the real world in a busy city. Her boring office job entailed being in charge of the yellow school bus routes, which was far from what she expected out of her life. Her co-workers would always say she was so perky, always so happy to be there. She was filled with joy, they said. Yet, she would sit at her desk with her yellow number two pencil in hand, taking notes on the yellow legal pad from yet another boring meeting, counting down the minutes until lunch break, so she could eat her yellow macaroni and cheese.
She remembered the angry fire from 9/11. But she also saw a rose, beautiful despite its thorns. All her life, she was misunderstood. There was a common misconception everyone had about her. Some said she was perfect. She felt anything but. Her cheeks would flare red out of humility when these kind words were said about her. Then, there were those who would call her a slut, simply because she liked wearing red lipstick or because she would snack on red cherries. No, she would not tie the stem into a knot with her red-tinted tongue. Her cheeks again flared red, but this time out of embarrassment. She felt as if nobody was ever going to see who she really was, not because she was misleading, but because people misinterpreted her every action, causing her to become addicted to glasses of red wine with dinner.
She was reminded of the purple bruises that marked her body from her ex, which made her master the art of disguise. As she grew older, the girl needed her life to look fine, because she was terrified of what may have resulted if her cover was blown. When asked, she told her colleagues her so-called plans: she was going to buy a house with purple shutters and get out of her cruddy loft apartment with the purple mold growing in the window sill. Yes, she was going to find a husband. Eventually. And, sure, she was competing for that promotion with the company. No, she did not have her life figured out, but people needed to think that she did. Because her disguise made her seem fine.
She loved to start her day with her usual green smoothie, but she also loved to lie in the vast green field. The girl who was now a woman learned that green was about being free- not caring about what the world thought of her. She grew as tall as a one-hundred-year-old green pine tree. She was a green garden hose, watering the interest, talents, and complex emotions that made her who she was. She stopped caring so much about her image, which allowed the image of her life to become utterly clear.
It absorbed apricot, which was the love she had for her child after she finally found her husband. Grey welcomed jade, the color that gave her confidence when she went out with her friends. Maroon made her feel regret when she didn’t rescue the dog on the side of the road when she was thirty, on her way to her new job as a news anchor. That job made her feel gold. Saffron made her feel love for herself. And grey made her feel at peace with the tombstone and the coffin her loved ones picked out for her.
And then she was clear.