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A spectrum of loss

Red. The first time you see her, autumnal flame has just finished blooming across the tops of trees. Gold has melted into a mass of vivid silk, carpeting the icy sidewalks and mixing with the grey slush of city snow. It's the color of her dress, unfurling like the petals of young peonies when she spins with you. Roses bloom across her cheeks, flushed with laughter and the warmth spilling onto her dewy lips. It is the color you feel when you stand with her, watching glittering fireworks explode across the sky, the color you see when you dance together, gliding across the frozen rooftop, quietly humming the song that played when you first met. The wintry sky is stained with tints of maraschino cherries and bruised plum, and you kiss her, as the horizon turns dark, lights twinkling above your head like the stars that emerge in the dark night.

Yellow. It spreads across the horizon, pale and buttery against the rosy hues of sunset. Buildings scrape through gold as the sun sets, and her fair hair glimmers as it slides through your fingers, faerie thin and the texture of spun-silk. It is the hue of the tulips you bring her, and she smiles at you, freckled nose dipping into the freshly cut flowers. As you look up into the sky, listening to the bustling city sounds around you, the clouds drifting by, you dream of a bright future. It is the shade of the gold band on your finger, even as the words you long to say drift through the back of your mind. When the pale bits of color fade away into a clear twilight, you finally find the courage to offer her the only thing you can possibly give. Green. The palest tints of summer swirl through your mind when she first tells you of the child blossoming inside her stomach. You wrap your arms around her shoulders, feeling the quiet presence just beginning to grow, a perfect family unit of three. It is the color you paint the nursery when you find out that the child is a boy, the shade of her sparkling eyes when she speaks of the future. The rooftop garden thrives under her gentle care, leafy buds sprouting from the dark soil like the child growing in her stomach. She laughs when you bring home bags of tiny baby clothes the color of the leaves that wave gently beneath the windows of your apartment, and you laugh as well, pulling out a plush, evergreen crocodile and tucking it into the crib. Grey. It is the ugly hue of the hospital walls, the ones she stares blankly at when the doctor tells you that nothing can be done. It leaks through her fingers as she sifts through medical papers, head down, eyes watering, looking for reasons, loopholes, anything to explain her loss. When she finally realizes the futility, it is the color that she bleaches the sheets into, too preoccupied with her tears to notice. Brittle melancholy digs into your heart as you watch her finger the unworn baby clothing, and slowly put them away into cardboard boxes to be donated to Goodwill. It unfurls across the tops of your eyes, creeping into the roots of her golden hair. It is the color of notes of condolence, of the foil wrappings of sympathy casseroles, of the sky when you bury your unborn son. Surrounded by the leaves of autumn and mourning, everything melts into buttery dust. The house turns empty and silent and dark, crushed hopes staining everything the color of loss. Indigo. It is the tears and anger and the color of broken hearts. It is jobs across the country, separation, divorce, the shade of ink in the pen that the attorney has you sign with. It is the tint of the dark snow outside on the way to the airport, the color of her suitcase when you watch her stark silhouette disappear onto the plane without a backward glance. Shadows creep through the empty rooms, once filled with laughter, darkening the deserted nursery. You see it everywhere, as you lie alone in the bed that is too big. It swims through your head when you fish out her photo after a couple of glasses of wine, a color that deepens and crawls across the tablecloth when you knock over your glass, your tears bleeding into the stain as you stare at what could have been.

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