A Pessimist’s Favorite Color


red. my mother’s favorite color and also

the color of her short and sponge-like hair.

red is the color that reminds us of a beating heart that can be found

underneath layers of skin and bone.

it represents a love and passion that we have for each other, yet

it signifies the idea of hell. as i speak its name,

i can feel the warmth from the

bustling flames, which seem to be showing me

no mercy as i cry out to the heavens above for forgiveness.

orange. a pungent smell combined with

the soury-sweet taste of a clementine and sticky fingers.

it is a vision of my grandfather on his deathbed replying “orange”

to my cousin and i after we asked him what his favorite color was.

the memory constantly looping in my head just like

a song on repeat that you can’t stop listening to because it is just that good.

only this time, the song is a sad distorted memory. the lyrics consisting

of the last conversation we had before he began to circle the drain.

yellow. dancing in an open field primarily of wildflowers

while sunshine is beaming down on you and your rosy pink cheeks.

the pale yellow and grainy sand

that sticks to your feet after getting splashed with warm salt water. the same sand

that you and i walked on when we first met, that serves

as a constant and painful reminder

that there is no way i can ever fall in love again after you.

green. dewy grass fields swarmed with mosquitos and gnats, each blade of grass

varying in shape and texture.

but it is the color of lettuce, broccoli, and peas.

it is the color of acceptable calories that have been

ingrained into my mind, along with the

ultimatums i have created for myself:

“every meal you eat adds an extra mile. if you fail, you don’t eat tomorrow.”

green is what i could have, but it always came

with multiple restless nights due to the hunger

that echoed in what seems to be a pit of despair housed within me.

blue. just like the ocean. i can hear the waves crashing

and taste the salt that seems to linger in the air.

there’s the calming and familiar breeze, and finally,

i can breathe. it is my escape. yet this is also

where i received the call that you had fallen.

a five-hour car ride home awaited me so that we could say

our goodbyes. so i could hold your hand as you took your last breath.

i remember watching the light fade out of your eyes

as you closed them for the last time. it is when i began

to understand the meaning

of a forget-me-not flower and its vibrant blue color.

i will not forget you.

indigo. the color of the crayon

you’d accidentally pick up when trying to color a body of water in elementary school.

i can smell the waxy and childish scent of a crayon within the word itself. this is also

the color of the sky every night when i look out of my window.

it is an invitation to my loneliness, a warning to me

that another long night seems to be calling my name.

violet. a character in the incredibles who has the ability to disappear,

just like you did to me when i was just two years old.

i remember you, but you forgot about me.

violet is the color of the alzheimer’s awareness ribbon. it is the color

reminding me of an ache in my heart

that came with many lessons i can never unlearn.

the foul smell of your nursing home

and the velvety carpet that filled the halls. violet

sounds just like your tired and weary voice.

finally, there is black. black is the color

of pen ink and the pentagons that surround the outside of a soccer ball.

it is the color of death and sadness. the color

of the weights on my shoulders and a reminder to me

of my constant mourning and self-pity. but

i feel most comfortable here, sulking within its walls.

it is a painful sense of nostalgia. it is a constant reminder

of the battle that is happening within me

and its ever changing outcomes.

it reminds me of my strength and gives me dignity.

if you touch it, it feels proud and accomplished.

it will show me my journey and how far i have come.

and most importantly, it tells me to keep going.

and sometimes, that’s all you need to hear.