The Following

Blue wasn’t always my favorite color but it followed me. It activated my thoughts in the morning. Cool indigo and sparse dandelion teased me as they peaked out over the roofs of buildings. I wouldn’t see or notice that sky again till recess. Brick red was more like gritty brown on the wall that separated my view. The black crackled paint of the fire escape and the tired rust of the window bars added to my struggle to get just a glimpse of those colors.

Blue accompanied me in the bathroom. It was everywhere. Pale frosty blue tiles with shiny jet borders where like small mirrors for my daily rituals.

Blue was at school. Well, it was in the summer. That scratchy dusty jumper with white flecks. The mercilessness of that periwinkle frock is unforgettable. It was a sweat inducing horror and never fit right! It was unforgiving to those blossoming into puberty or who just ate too damn much. I had a little of both going on.

Blue became one of my favorites when I took up gymnastics. I couldn’t wait to shimmy into that royal blue leotard (because any other blue was out of the question). A mind numbing shopping trip to find the color specific uniform for class preceded my first practice. I always called it electric blue. Perhaps that is due to the way it made me feel. I felt like Wonder Woman (or Wonder Girl) since my leotard matched hers. The shiny material lit up my expectations of jumping around like a kangaroo without disturbing my parents.

Blue tortured me from the peaks of Hudson River waves (not that I wanted to swim in the Hudson). It laughed at my inability to swim which often restricted me to the aquamarine nightmare otherwise known as the kiddie pool. Sure it was bright (although the paint chipped) and had a waterfall.  It was as ignored as the weird kid in school whose name you didn’t really know; who kinda smelled like dried saliva and crayons. I wouldn’t have it! I risked drowning (plenty times) to dip my toes and avoid the garbage dump of the kiddie pool.

Later, blue slapped me like a whack on the behind with minty green and white flip-flops when I was bad.  I looked over the girly pink rim of my glasses and into those baby b’s. You smiled and I think something—probably my breathing—stopped. Of course I’ve seen blue eyes before.   Many of them quite beautiful. Whatever the reason, yours in particular take me back to the days of realizing I couldn’t swim on sheer will. Is it the Caribbean water burst in your robin’s egg irises (ooh I pushed that one didn’t I)? I dunno. I know that your eyes make me want to back away from the edge of the beach the way I do when I’m afraid I’ll venture out too far. All it takes is one more step. The sapphire tide will pull me. My feet no longer touching dirt and sand. I’ll drop like an anvil.

And so your eyes follow me. They tease me. They torture me. They welcome me to the challenge of finally learning to swim. I’ll be like the people I envy who run to the ocean instead of away from it.

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