I remember standing by the window in the parlor looking at the evening sky in the Blue Hour. It was the winter of our first year and I loved standing in the empty room watching the colors change before my eyes. I never noticed in L.A. or San Francisco, was I too busy, too young, was it smog? What the hell was I doing in middle of nowhere Minnesotain winter on a farm, broke, bruised, tired and so damned cold. Memories that flash like photographs, still frames of my life that suddenly become a movie in my mind.
That day the snow was different, it looked like whitecaps on the ocean from the wind, the sun had warmed the top then nights froze the waves in place. There was a crust and I’d gone out to walk on it earlier, to feel it crunch and see how far I sank. God how you laughed at me, sinking thigh deep and struggling, the stubborn woman who wouldn’t turn back. Get it while I can, enjoy what I have, this new world and life I chose with you. I’m cold and tired but I have a new world. No, we have it.
Like the nights I had off in summer and fall when the colors soften and change, the birds settle in and the world gets quiet, I waited to watch that unbroken ocean of white. There were so few nights off during the Holidays but this night I had my time and my sights, I’m a watcher and magic is free. Slowly the night turned Indigo, deep, heavy purple-blue and the world was still early, no voices, no birds, no tires on the highway. Finally the yard light came on and I saw it, the ground sparkling everywhere I looked. It was as if someone had thrown millions of diamonds across the acre of lawn. It took my breath away and I stayed standing in the dark room, I didn’t want to look away.
You came up behind me, always wanting to see things with my eyes, “watcha doin standin’ in the dark Gorgeous?” You always thought my name was Gorgeous. Me, gorgeous. It wasn’t fair, your voice was the color of that deep Indigo sky and I never stood a chance. I told you look at the lawn, someone threw a million diamonds on the lawn and like always, you laughed. “No Gorgeous, I did, I threw them out there just for you.” I wish you’d talked more, I miss your voice. Would you have talked more if I’d needed to hear more words?
That’s how traditions start, I worked harder, you worked harder. She was a beautiful wreck our Victorian Lady. What a beast. The next year there was a furnace and I got a kitchen, eventually the parlor done in warm honey and caramels for my office. For 10 years if I had a night off I’d stand at the parlor window to see the light and color change my world. In winter I’d wait to see if you’d tossed diamonds in the yard just for me. Wait for you to walk up behind me, “watcha doin’ standin’ in the dark Gorgeous?” You always said it, “Didja see the diamonds I threw out there just for you.” You were so still and calm that I could finally be still too. So few words we traded, so many joys we shared.
Our 10th Christmas you tucked a little box deep in the back of the tree, how unlike you cowboy. You wanted to replace my plain band with big sparkly diamonds because I’d never asked for one. It was our last year on the farm, you took me back to a warm city. You insisted, said you “wouldn’t watch me shiver through another winter.” Did you know you’d leave? How could I not know you’d leave? Did you know years later I’d still miss you sometimes?
Did you know I’d forever miss who I was when you were here? Another big thing I didn’t know. It was safe then to be that soft and lovely. It was safe to be different, and safe to be me.
Those years were my Blue Hour, my Age of Innocence. The lovely soft colors of that time. There is a blogging Open Call about colors, I’d have chattered asking which colors, you’d have known this was the best one for me. I write because I’m still here, I can flirt with life from a safe distance. You knew and accepted how I am. You stopped being surprised I heard your feelings and thoughts even when you were far away. You knew I heard other people’s feelings, accepted I knew things I couldn’t know.
I don’t want to be seen, or heard, or known. I don’t want anyone picking at my scabs, they’re mine to pick at. I want to be still in the quiet. No one is still or quiet, so I like to stay alone. It’s easier to come out in the night, it seems easier to look at anger, sadness, and fear in the dark. It’s not easier, it only seems that way in angry, sad, scary times.
I read blogs until I can’t stand to feel for others, then I slip out and no one notices me. I write and delete hundreds of posts because I’m still here, because we all matter whether I wish it or not. I don’t want to feel my feelings either. If I have to feel, let it be potent anger, not impotent fear or grief. I even quit calling my Congressman and Senators, it’s okay they quit listening before I quit calling. You would have laughed at that too, and said I’m” alright for a girl.” I’m sorry I made you crazy with my activism and wish I had spent more time with you instead. Thank you for keeping me grounded.
Six years ago I started to paint the new house in colors. I painted the ceiling and below the chair rail in my bedroom dusty purple, like the skin on a Kadota plum. The ceiling is dark like the night sky, in between is a soft velvet shade. I stopped at the bedroom and everything else is still too white, I can’t remember why I stopped, I just did. I forgot about the colors until the Open Call. You’d have laughed if I rambled about her request and speculated on her blogging name ‘Will Someone Feed The Cat.’ You would have made stories up about her name, you would have spoken and made me laugh.
I forgot the Indigo Nights and maybe I needed to forget. Maybe it’s time for me to remember that I once had a world filled with the colors of life. Perhaps the years hiding are simply my Indigo Nights where it’s still. Maybe if I stand by the window and wait someday I’ll see more diamonds tossed out there just for me. If I close my eyes, I can see it, the sky is purple-blue against the snow, and the ground sparkles everywhere I look. It still takes my breath away.
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