A Reflection on the Color Blue

Olivia Zoga ’21


She has not seen blue for months. The color has been washed out of the sky, out of the ground, out of the murky puddles that run along her feet. She has not been living in a blue world. Which is fine, she supposes, she never cared much for it anyway. Always found it stilted. Too quiet in the mornings and the nights when she thought the world should be screaming alive. She never looked much for blue anyway.

So the sky has been grey, and the water brown, and her clothes black, and everything else has blurred, like a paint palette in a day camp where the colors just keep swirling until they shine up like vomit. She feels like a child sometimes. The times when she wants to cry because she has mixed her own palette to puke. I didn’t mean to, she thinks. How would I know that blue and orange make brown? I only wanted to make something new.

I only wanted to make something new, she thinks as she looks across the dead grass. I only wanted to make something new. It repeats while she kicks her way along the pavement, scratching her soles on dry concrete. You can only combine so many colors. There are only so many shades, so many hues. Orange can only get yellow or red. It cannot get blue. She supposes one day she will have to learn to stop trying to make orange blue.

She sits down on the colorless stoop toward the edge of the void. Beyond her feet, the picture she sees just becomes abstract, all brown dots, pointillism pointing to nothing. If she squints she can see scratches and shadows in the blur. But the definition is not worth the headache. So she sits and turns the other way and counts the flecks of mud on her boots.

She has not seen blue for months, not since she picked it up on her paintbrush and plopped it into her orange cup. The murk she made has made it hard to breathe. Her chest pushes out, she makes sure of it, and sometimes she has to pull it in. There she sits, shoving and dragging her lungs in the tingle of an endless mess. There she sits when the sky slowly parts and quiet feet murmur their way to her spot.

The eyes she looks up into do not ask if she is okay. They ask nothing. They are eyes. They are the sky and the ocean and silent and small and they teach her how to breathe again. They are a fresh cup, a fresh palette. The hand that pulls her up pours her a new bowl of orange. Today she can have orange, and the grass can be green, and the sky might look a little blue behind the clouds.

She has not seen blue for months. But that day, at the edge of the void, blue comes back to her and it holds her hand and she knows, now, that despite all its silence, she likes it quite much.