Sian Evan’s New Short Story – A Forgotten Colour

A Forgotten Colour

empy pillow

by

Sian Evans

*

The colour of your eyes; they were brown but I cannot remember the shade.

That purple polo shirt you always wore.  Horrific.  Purple is my favourite colour but never in that shade.

White, grey, black and blue the colours of your cars since I had known you.

That dark brown your legs would go in summer and those navy and tan deck shoes you always wore, when you weren’t in navy shorts and brown suede slippers.  In winter or summer: shorts and slippers.

Creamy white of your steaming hot brew.

Pale melon hue or that glass of Pinot Grigio.  You loved that wine.  I found it tasteless yet I never said.

Brown sauce or red on your bacon butty?

Titian – the colour you graciously said my hair was, in a moment of fatherly love, when my home dye job went a little awry.

My graduation dress was black, slimming over my pregnant belly.  Your tie was grey.  We went to Café Rouge.  You ordered a flat white and I went for a pot of Earl Grey.  We shared chocolate cake.

Orange…bronze…red…yellow…blue…purple…the colours of the song on the radio as I drove to the hospital that blinding white sunny morning as I saw silver spots bubbling in front of my eyes.

The clothes I wore…black and purple; a darker shade than your polo shirt.

Grey and purple stripes on the t-shirt I ironed for you as you lay dying and the one you wore when I came to see you after.

The carnations were pure white.

The hearse black.

  1. Red.  Red.  The traffic lights that hindered me.  If I had got there sooner we might have shared last words.  Instead, I spoke to you and hoped you could hear.

My beautiful knee high boots were mahogany brown.  They squeaked on the sea blue specked cream floor of your hospital ward.  They have never been worn since.

Green, just green, the colour of the ticket machine at the car park.

The scented liquid I sprayed onto my neck that very morning and all the mornings after – Amber.  I wear a lilac coloured scent now from a lilac bottle with a purple lid.

There was a mini heat wave hours before you passed.  I wore Mint Candy Apple nail polish on my toes.  Your hands were the dull red of dying embers.

Pale beige the soup I ate at lunchtime.  I can’t remember what flavour it was.

Clear blue, the colour I saw 24 days after your funeral.  The pink aisle of the toy shop that you will never get to walk down as the happy and proud grandfather.

I folded your clean laundry that night, ready for your no return…faded grey, faded navy and light grey with a garish purple emblem stitched on the upper left breast.

My little boy slept on your pillow, his head lying on the classic cream linen that your head vacated 60 hours earlier.

Bottle green x3.  The wine we drank from your wine cooler was very much appreciated and needed.  Grass green the colour of the recycle bin – yes, I recycled them, I know how much that meant to you.

The ambulance that took you from your home, which you never returned to, the home where you raised your family for all those years and never got to see your grandchild grow up in, was yellow and green.

The ambulance that took you from the hospital to the hospice, your final ride, was white.  I watched it arrive and hoped you were still with us.

Sand beige – the colour of the cup they gave me, the first of endless brews.  It had a navy blue rim that was faded in part around the circumference.

Blush pink – the chair that dominated your hospice room.

Moss green – the colour of the curtains in the family room upstairs.  We used that room for days.  The sofa was a corn colour, I think.

My toddler was wearing a Postman Pat red t-shirt when he came to visit.  Although, you never got to see him, but I know you could hear his laughter across the gardens.

In the photo I gave you, the one under your beetroot red hand, your grandson was wearing sea blue (let’s call it Mediterranean blue) and orange pyjamas.  He was reading his favourite book in that photo.

Lilac was the top your wife was wearing when she came into the sun room to see my son.  He said: Grandad not here.  Grandad poorly.

We passed around the white box of tissues with the company name in bold blue writing dominating the top.

A volunteer came in with more tea and coffee in sand beige cups with faded navy blue rims.

Endless cricket matches of green, green, green.

Camel/Café au lait /Murray Mint – some shade of beige was the colour of the chair we bought you, and you stayed in it for hours day after day never giving up, until finally you sat in it no longer.  Your grandchildren were sitting in it giggling when you passed.

Black and white was the coaster I put my wine glass down on when I went to run their bath.

Your grandson played with a yellow lion and a red train when we got the phone call.  I wrapped him in one of the pale peach towels from your airing cupboard.  He drank his milk from his ‘dark one’ blue cup and then he went to bed without complaint and slept through the night.

The colour of your eyes; they were brown but I cannot remember the shade.

Some things I remember and others I forget.  Colour is tainted by memory.

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