This story is not apart of ‘Around’. I wrote it in the spring of 2012, and it’s one of my favorite pieces. Be sure to check out “Goldfish,” located to the right under the RĒCENTLY heading.
She walked down the aisle dressed in white. I saw the slightest smile rush over her face and I was flooded with relief: the rest of my life would be good.
I came to a point where I truly didn’t know what to write about. “Originality is dead,” they say. When I was younger, I opted to dismiss this. Surely humans still have the capacity for innovation. Now I am old, I’m not so sure. I need to find out though—I promised myself that I would write something—anything—by dinner tonight. I needed to accomplish something; be able to give some good news.
Once, a teacher incorrectly told me that when you look at a color, you actually see the combination of all colors except that color. Where she got this notion, I cannot quite say. (Elementary school teachers can say whatever they want to). I do know that I clung to it like a leaf. In reality, when you see a color you see just that: the wave of light that makes up that color. Color is interesting, I think.
I’m staring at this sheet of paper now and all I can think about is colors, this false theory. I want it to be true, but there is no time for me to make it true. I must get dressed soon.
The paper is yellowed, stained by all the chemicals in the air. I stopped going to the doctor ten years ago because I was tired of him always telling me to quit smoking. When I was young I recall a black dental hygienist wearing orange and green flowered scrubs telling my mom our dog had died because she fed her grapes. (She may have been a vet, but I swear she had her hands in my mouth at one point). If grapes weren’t safe, nothing was.
We went to the beach, rented a house just for the day. I cooked and we ran on the beach like children. Children have never had so much fun, I swear to it. Like teen sweethearts, she sat in between my legs and I pulled out the chain. The moonlight reflected off of the cold silver. Happy anniversary!
Once, a professor incorrectly told me that ancient Greek literature did not use descriptions of colors as we do today. He said that Greeks did not have words for blue, yellow and red, but that they rather described the qualities of the colors. This is true, but not exclusively. Rather, the Greeks described colors in a different way than we do today. Words that we would think of as belonging to blue might be used to describe pink.
Here I am trying to get one word down on this paper before I meet my wife for dinner at the steakhouse and I cannot think of anything. We’ve had the reservations for months; it’s the nicest place in town. All I can think of is colors, so that’s what I write at the top of the page.
I get dressed and grab the small box I’ve been hiding in a shoe in my closet.
I’m almost out the door when the phone rings. I answer, and it’s devastating. I drop the box. This must be wrong; a Greek mistranslation. Today was golden—or it was supposed to be. I walk over to the gold band that has popped out of the dropped box and I hover over it, unsure. I don’t even know I’ve decided, and my black shoe crushes it, devours it like a hole far out in the galaxy.
There are four colors to marriage: White for the wedding, Silver for 25 years, Gold for 50, and Black.