Our World was in Technicolor

January 8, 2008
By Katherine Cook, Lansing, KS

They say, the most creative people dream in color. That they can feel sensations, hot, cold, wet and dry. Their emotions rage and often wake them in the dead of night, anger, sadness, fear, love, loss pulsing through their veins.
This place held no color, the walls were beige and unadorned, the carpet a pathetic red, everything was desaturated, it didn’t suite her at all. The music was bland, stereotypical and deafening, sustaining the silent, heavy veil of mourning. Hundreds of people lined the aisles, decadent in their black suits and stiff, conservative dresses. If asked what the middle name of the deceased was, a majority would blink stupidly fumble around with a few words and pray to be interrupted by another grief stricken mourner. I didn’t fit in with this crowd. Somehow I think she knew I never would, in spite of this I sat, for her, in the back pew of the church. These people didn’t know her, this music shouldn’t be playing, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was attending a strangers funeral.
It was as if any minute now Carrie would walk through the door, beautiful, in a dress as green as spring grass and rosy cheeks blooming. Bouncing undaunted, as if in slow motion her corn silk hair would frame her overly round 18-year-old face. Happily she would plunk down beside me, and observe how uptight and the mood was.
“It’s a funeral Carrie” I would murmur under my breath. She would giggle in a hushed way.
“Funerals are a celebration of life, there’s no reason to be sad!” I could hear her voice so clearly, like free flowing water, everything about her was free flowing and honest. “That’s easy for you to say Carrie,” I thought to myself. “Can’t you see, earth just lost one of its brightest angels?”.
“Me an Angel? How easily you forget my friend, I am far from angelic.” She would pout shamelessly obviously enjoying the attention, opening the door for contradiction with her false modesty. “Could of fooled me” I would whisper and she would shove me with her elbow. Effortlessly she would lean forward in the pew resting her chin on her folded arms. I would have seen her summer tan line, the neat lines of her toned muscles, she had always been in shape, always radiant and healthy.
“What do you think he’s thinking about?” Carrie would ask, indicating her boyfriend Jim, standing alongside her parents at the front of the assembly. He appeared grim, but not exactly devastated, his cheeks were dry and his eyes were clear but unfocused.
“He looks numb” I say, slowly she takes this into consideration.
“He just looks uncomfortable, like there’s a pole up his a**” unflinching she would say. Upon first meeting Carrie comments like these shocked or amused most people, she had a quirky way of voicing what we all thought, but out of politeness wouldn’t say.
“I think he’s relieved” her placid features gave nothing away, she was an impossible girl to read.
“I think you are deluding yourself, Jim loved you” no matter how much effort it took to form these words in my mouth, I let them, its what kept us friends.
“There’s a lot you don’t understand” her favorite line, over and over like a broken record, its dramatic effect struck just the right cord on anyone, but she knew it hit home with me.
“I guess I never will” I let the whisper escape my lips, there was no one, after all, there to hear it. Carrie had died in a car accident, her body was unmarked, that was one thing I didn’t understand. Jim eyes remained cold and dry when Carries body lay inches from his right hand, while mine in a fierce fit swam with tears. Why shouldn’t he be like me? I hated it when she was right, I just couldn’t understand.

The room had cleared out, visitation was coming to an end, no longer threatened by the mass of people I quietly made my way towards the casket. The gray room, the gray faded carpet, my gray shoes, these were the only things I could look at. Raising my eyes timidly, I peered into the casket. Ashen cheeks, dull blond hair and a plain black dress where the only things that greeted me. This was not Carrie. Without thinking my hand reached out for hers, it felt unbelievably cold. Her parents were watching me; Jim was too. I released her hand, a hand that no longer belonged to her, this was not my Carrie. Like everything else in this room her body; her shell held no color. It was all desaturated. Politely I shook the hands of her dry-eyed family and Jim. While walking away I realized that this must be what it’s like to dream in black and white. I wondered silently if the color would ever come back.

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