When I asked for your favourite colour you said, green. No explanation, simply, green. I waited for you to tell me about a garden someplace, a lawn, or a tree, perhaps some moss-covered thing. Perhaps a memory. But you stayed silent and allowed the word to define itself.
Green. What it means to me is that day we walked on the beach, side by side and so cold. I can still recall the sway of marram grass and the sting of the wind. Grains of sand lodging in my eyes. We sat high in the dunes, the sweep of the bay before us, gulls overhead, and the sea, the colour of every jewel imaginable. Turquoise, tourmaline, topaz.
I remember you smiled at me. ‘Where I see green, you see blue,’ you said. And when I did not understand, you allowed the sea to answer. But, for me, the glint of sky on water, the swoosh of wave on shore, the spray of ocean in air, all of it was an agreement of sorts. Green? No, blue. The day was blue.
And it had that feel to it too. Blue, so blue. Though neither of us admitted it.
What I should have done was show you how colour is a trick of the light. Explained that it is a fleeting thing. Blue, green, but only for a moment.
We could have walked down to the ocean’s edge, cupped the sea in our hands, and let the water flow through our fingers. And I could have shown you the blue there, when the light falls just so, and watched as you tilted your head to see only the green again.
And perhaps we could have admitted that we were both right. Both wrong.
Jennifer Harvey is the author of three novels. Her latest, “The Vanishing Child”, will be published on August 26th. Her short stories have been widely published and you can find out more at jenharvey.net or follow her on Twitter.