Blue & Black & White
I walked through a hall of ghosts this evening. You heard me, a hall of ghosts. I walked around, and I’m quite sure I traveled through time. I wore the beanie I had bought and worn in Brooklyn. I wrapped a heavy hooded coat around my body and left the zipper unzipped because I meant business. The heavy clothing, the layers, the rain, the chill...It all reminded me of New York City.
One day I had had in New York, the entire city had turned black and white. Yes, you heard me right again. Black and white. The L Train was mostly white. The circles around everyone’s eyes, including mine, were black. My hands were gray and cracked and cold. It was not a good day. I was tired and had missed my stop because I had fallen asleep on my last train home to Brooklyn at 3 in the morning.
Well, today, the hall of ghosts started to lose color. Suddenly it wasn’t just the colder weather that was bringing me back to New York, it was the lack of color. I walked past mobs of people who also wore big coats and carried bags and bags of things and things. There were always more things and it made me so restless to think about so many things. It would never be enough for us. The stores that surrounded the giant ghost halls were full of more things, and when I walked in all of the workers greeted me talking about this thing and that thing.
This isn't a post about consumerism. This is a post about wanting what we can't have because we can't have it all, all the time. Or do we think otherwise?
I felt so tired, but every face trying to sell me things looked more tired than I did. I wanted to see behind the pale faces and swollen eyes. I wanted to know why they worked until they became so tired. Was it for an education? Was it for the children? Was it for a dream? Was it for...more things?
I continued to walk through the halls. Everyone walked around looking for more to buy. What’s a ghost without a new scarf? A new purse? A new pair of shoes? Maybe there was a store that was selling color. I'd buy a color or two: green because of me, blue because of your eyes.
I had thought New York City was the only city that looked black and white on the gray-feeling days. I was wrong. Here I was in Salt Lake City, and it was the same. Where did all of the color go on days like today?
I thought back to what color was. I had to close my eyes to remember what color looked like. I thought of green because… well because I love green. And then the green faded and I saw blue. I saw your eyes.
I was recalling this perfect moment from the past. The colors were there in all of their strength. You were talking. I was listening, but it was hard to focus. You sat with a hot sub in your hands. You picked at the fries that laid between us carelessly. (What’s another couple hundred calories to you anyway?) We sat by the window, and the sun lit up your face through the glass. Your curls shone as golden as an angel’s halo...You know, if angels exist. The empty chairs and tables behind you were the perfect background, letting you sit forward in the spotlight. It was as if everything in the room knew you were the most important thing to exist in that proximity. Your eyes were bright, vibrant, steady, blue. Your lips always curved towards the sun. They were your tell. They always showed when you liked something, and lately all I wanted to do was make those lips curl up. You spoke thoughtfully, and the sound of your voice filled the entire room. It sounded as if your mouth was only inches away from mine. I only wished that was the case. I wanted to hear everything you had to say. I wanted to hear about film class. I wanted to hear about studying. I wanted to hear about deciding to be happy.
I smiled from across the table. I couldn’t help it. It’s not often we humans live and, while we experience something absolutely perfect, we are aware of it. I was aware of it. I knew that I was living in a total and complete moment of perfection. It's hard to deal with sometimes, when you notice wonderful things are happening.
If only you knew how you looked just then. If only you knew how you sounded just then.
And then the memory let go of my mind. The way you smelled left me, and I was back in a colorless hall of soulless bodies looking and purchasing soulless things. I wondered why I was there. Why was I there at all? And as if everyone in the hall heard my question, all of the faces turned towards me. I could tell they were angry. Why did I think I was better than them? Why did I judge them with so quick an eye when I was there roaming the halls myself? I was here for more things too, wasn't I?
Think colors. Think colors. I told myself, walking away. Green. Blue. The faces slowly turned back to their own lives, to the things they needed to have. I thought of warmth. Green. Blue. I bought a thing full of tea. I wanted to walk and drink, but I sat and drank instead because I was too tired to balance a cup of tea and walk at the same time. The warmth filled me up, so I walked outside to my car. The night was black and cold and wet. I sat in my car. Time raced and cars fled the parking lot. I started to wonder how crazy I was and how hard I should try to hide it. Or, I thought, maybe I should write about it and others will tell me they hide how crazy they are in their minds too.
There I was again. Alone in a parking lot. I turned the engine on and hip hop came on and a black man with a deep voice rapped about how his mama told him to keep going until he was out of his neighborhood. I wondered if his neighborhood had had any color in it. I wondered if he could see colors where he was now.
I had bought things and those things sat in the passenger seat next to me like a souvenir of the hall of ghosts. We were all the same. Things and things and it was never enough.
I drove with the windows down to let the night know that I didn’t mind the cold. It was a spiteful, "Do your worst," moment that I was slowly and stubbornly losing. However, the last time the world had lost its color, I had passed out into a world of complete black. I wasn’t going to chase the cold away, but invite it onto my cheeks where it would keep me awake and alive. I could handle the cold, but I didn't want the black and white day to become an entirely black day. I would give in to the cold, but not the dark. Not again.
I should have spent the thirty minute drive thinking about work the next day or maybe the numbers of a bill I needed to pay. Instead I spent the commute trying to decide which I should write about: a colorless night or the color of your eyes.