Page 52 - WTP VOl. VIII #7
P. 52

The Color Surge (continued from preceding page)
“There’s this novel I’m supposedly writing.” “That’s impressive. What’s it called?”
“That’s it: This Novel I’m Supposedly Writing.” “You’re kidding!”
“Yes, of course I’m kidding. I don’t usually tell people about it, it just sounds so pretentious. So I call it that so I don’t jinx it.”
“Wow, though. I admire having a big project like that. Something that actually matters. Something like the space program, you know? I was at the mall the other day, watching these kids hanging out and playing music and dancing and laughing and singing. Just young people doing their young people things, and
I was thinking: they have so much energy! So much hope and optimism! And I thought about my own
life and thought, hmmm, maybe I should just let the young’uns carry the load from now on. You know? Just have done and turn it all over to the next genera- tion. But...whoa! Sorry ’bout that! Don’t mean to wal- low in the Slough of Despond here.”
“The what?”
“From Pilgrim’s Progress. The swamp of despair.”
“And here I worried that I might sound pretentious.”
“Youch!” I laugh. “But you’re right. A little overcom- pensation there.”
“Overcompensation? For what?”
“Umm, let’s just say for a childhood I’d rather not talk about right now. So there I was, watching these kids, and feeling that when my time comes—mind you, I’m nowhere near my end days—but feeling that when that moment arrives, I’ll probably be happy to just let go and make room for somebody else. You know what I’m saying? I mean, I’m just 42, so it’s a ridiculous age to be worried about this stuff, but there I was in this depressing mall feeling utterly insignificant. A bit like an appendix, you know? That little organ that nobody even cares what it does. So why not just take it out?”
Mindi is silent.
“Okay,” I confess after a moment. “That whole story was a little over-the-top depressing. Sorry.”
The silence hangs in the night. “You still there? Mindi?”
She finally answers.
“You haven’t asked about my scar. Most guys would ask first thing.”
“Well...of course I’ve been wondering. But I didn’t want to press. And I wasn’t sure whether you meant scarred physically or metaphysically, so I just as- sumed you’d tell me when the time was right.”
“It’s a burn scar. From when I was in high school. Tenth grade. But you’re right, I really don’t want to talk about it right now. It’s just that, what you were saying about significance? I know what you mean. Your life can feel so totally ordinary and insignificant. But then one day something happens and everything changes. Like after the fire. I was in the hospital for a while, and it was during that time when I....”
I wait.
“...You have to swear you won’t make fun of me.”
“Of course I won’t.”
“It was during that time when I saw my new color.”
“New color? What does that mean?”
She breathes slowly a few times.
“You know sometimes when you close your eyes real tight you can see colors on the inside of your eyelids?”
“Well, in the hospital my eyes were covered and I had a lot of time on my hands to watch those colors dance around. And after a while I started to notice a new color in there. A color I’d never seen before. A color nobody’s seen.”
“Sorry. Don’t follow. You mean you saw something outside the visible spectrum? How’s that possible?”
“No, I mean a color nowhere on the spectrum. It was on its own spectrum, like a visitor from somewhere else, and only I could see it.”
“That’s rather bizarre, Miss Mindi. What did this im- possible color look like?”
“Kind of hard to say. Hot, like flames. And grating, like a rusty hinge or the sound of nails on a chalkboard. And it tasted ‘off’ somehow, like vinegar or brine. But that’s all wrong, too. That makes it sound so unpleas- ant, when actually it was gorgeous, but in a nasty

   50   51   52   53   54