My name is Blue. Not because it was mamma’s favorite color, or because she loved the sea or the sky. There is a darker reason I’m called Blue. Uncle Bill told me that mamma was confined to bed during pregnancy, confined to a bad marriage and confined to an endless line of ghosts that taunted her from the hall. He told me she called me Blue, because it was how she felt.
Category: Short Stories
A Paper Boat
They say Anna Margarita came from Portugal, that she sailed across the sea in a boat made of paper and string. I remember as a child asking how a boat of paper could float. They said it floated on hope, and that it was bluer than the sea, and that it had a crimson sail she’d sewn out of her own broken heart.
She’d been alive for centuries. But for them, it started with a ship — a flat slip of silver that slid through the sky like a note from God. It bore the markings of a language they’d never seen and the echoes of other planets danced in its wake like wisps of a dream. When it landed they came from all over, pilgrims from desert, from mountain and sea, all searching for answers — for some reason any of this should be. But when the door opened and a single girl walked out, she could see them whisper and shake their heads in doubt. The only eyes that stayed fixed belonged to the children, barely visible in a field of farmers, lawyers and cold. They strained to see beyond the tattered coats, the misgivings and fears of the old. This girl was their savior, a beacon from home, but no one seemed to understand except they alone. Their tiny bodies so light with cautious hope their feet barely touched the ground — but all this was lost, blanketed out by the adults’ buzzing sounds.
Surely there were people like me—people with a heart that hung so low it might as well be a shoe—people who slept with the window partly open just in case a whisper of hope blew past in the wind—people who knew all the words to Let It Be, but just couldn’t.
On Nights Like This
On nights like this, when the neighbors have closed their shutters and drifted off to sleep and the stars have disappeared behind a thick fog — and the world feels distant, dis-interested and detached…I question whether I’m really here at all. I pull my sweater in tight and stand barefoot on the wet grass — alone. I marvel at the amount of change that can occur in one’s life without the faintest whisper that anyone else has noticed. Not a person, bird, tree nor single leaf. The light, in varying degrees, still arrives every morning — it falls across the Earth, padding along meadows thick with life and cities empty of hope. Silver streams still splash and gurgle toward the open sea, people still move about their daily routines sketching the same lines again and again. And everything seems to know its place. Life just goes on — so they say.
Thunder rolls low and deep as she hides under her faded Wonder Woman sheets. Rubbing her cheek against flannel soft with age, she searches for lingering smells of her childhood, scents that will somehow erase the years between and carry her back to better days. She peaks out and peers toward the wall that is more glass than plaster. Lightning lights up the sky in angry streaks as if god’s decided to give up on the experiment and just tear the world to shreds. If it were to happen, she has a front row seat, from this perch on the top of a mountain, from this house made of glass and heartache.
From a distance you could pretend it was anything — the tear of a giant, a pile of wilted petals, the rusted ruins of someone’s life. It was not my business, I should just walk away. Curiosity had been a long term problem of mine — often leading to disaster, or at the very least disappointment. Still — after it all — I stubbornly held on to a small wisp of hope — ‘cuz, really, you never know.
She extends a long willowy arm outward and points over the lake shrouded in fog — to the spot where the light is starting to filter through. It’s so bright I have to close my eyes for a moment and catch my breath.
“Look! There!” She screams — joy cast from her mouth as easily as if it were a fishing line — baited with her great big heart and sparkling eyes and thick curls of hair — a joy that puts a lifetime of my small sparks of happiness to shame. A joy that leaps from the water like a silver fish under a full white moon — casting stars in its wake and skipping across the surface with a grace that gives one pause to wonder that gravity ever existed at all.
Mamma taught me that every day is a new dream. And I woke each mornin’ curious to see what the dream would bring. Mamma what dream is it today? And her answer seemed to depend on the weather, or the messiness of the house, or the flakiness of her crust. Sometimes the dream would be of butterflies and numbers and running late. And others would be of butter and mixing and berries picked fresh or piles of laundry and dirty plates. It didn’t really matter much which dream it was ‘cuz they were all wonderful thanks to our old hound dog — Bertie. Bertie was in every one of them.
Late at night when the stories had been read, and towels hung damp and limp upon the hooks or in puddles on the floor, she’d turn her thoughts over in her head like old lumps of dough and try to remember what had happened, to who she was before. The mirror now reflected someone she didn’t recognize, size 10 thighs, droopy breasts and question marks for eyes. There were zombies who looked better than this.