Surrounded By Blue

January 15, 2010
By CaroLINEE BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
CaroLINEE BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Blue. The color most associated with sadness. Eight years ago when I was eight, my world turned upside down with swirls of blue sewn into my eyes. It was New Years Eve and after a day of begging my mom to let me stay in Kingston, Mass., at Honey’s house, yes a strange nickname referring to the terrible highlights my mom’s sister got one year, she approved and drove back to our home in Connecticut with my dad. My family was always big on family parties- this time only my uncle was playing pin the tail on the donkey. Everything was calm and serene. Kay Kay my older cousin who was twelve at the time and I were watching a movie in the basement, the smell of perfumes fusing in the air and remainders of our fashion show lay unmoving. The floorboards above were often creaky with old age, but that night they groaned with exasperation.

8. pm. Honey and Uncle Joe went out to relax at a local bar, while Rory age 17, and Joe age 18, my older cousins were home babysitting my cousin and I. My uncle, Big Joe, as he’s referred to in my family has an accent thick as syrup tracing back to the outskirts of Cork, Ireland and is as stubborn as a toddler refusing potty-training. I focused on it while he spoke and begged him to tell me stories so I could hear him talk, his words wrapping around my head and holding me still from wiggling. I always listened closely, engulfing the separate letters that eventually formed into words that marched out of his mouth, not quite as thick as the syrup.

10. Pm. I heard laughing outside, an evident sign of a good night. I rushed toward the stairs with Kay Kay moseying behind me. As we approached the top I heard the front door slam. “Joe stop- you don’t, stop!” I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart accelerating. I put my hand on my mouth to keep it from jumping out. “You think so, huh?” My uncles oh so relaxing voice had shards of glass protruding out of every word. All I could smell was the stench of beer a faint whiff of regret. Forget the unbalance of his every step. His words, filled with anger had yet been jumbled. His words were clear and real. Run. That’s what I wanted to do. Just forget this, and to run, like all the contests I had at school when I was younger. I was frozen, legs locked and had a bad case of the chills. I didn’t know this man around the corner from me. I didn’t know his voice.

10:15pm.My mind was yelling and my mouth glued shut. Rory took the courage I didn’t have and ran. He ran up the stairs with the broken pillar and the rough carpeting, away from the stranger and the fluffy nutcrackers whose eyes seemed to stare. The stranger ran close behind. The banging from upstairs rang through the house. Kay Kay grabbed my hand tugging on my arm due to my hesitation to leave Honey in the foyer alone and perplexed. In slow motion we ran, our shadows trailing behind. We ran down the basement stairs into the room that looked like a trashed dressing room.

10:30pm.In our trashed dressing room we tried to mute the sounds of the pathetic screams of an unwanted stranger. My eyes became encircled with a fuzzy blue. I was no longer serene and calm. I was not crying and yelling or running to save myself. I told Kay Kay to stay put and I slowly climbed up the basement stairs. No noise. I opened the door and peered through. Honey, now the color of snow, flakes crawling slowly down her cheeks had crumbled to the floor. An unfamiliar voice on the phone greeted me. “9-11, state the emergency”. This woman’s voice was calm, so unlike what I was surrounded by. “We need help” I stammered out what we didn’t have. Honey’s new blizzard state was all the calm stranger could hear. Ten minutes later lights flashed from outside and the stranger upstairs came down. Blue. These lights were blue with a hint of white.

10:40pm. Big Joe opened the door and emerged, the men in blue inching forwards. “We heard of a disturbance, are you intoxicated sir?” My uncle nodded his eyes red from the alcohol and tears. “Ok, well we’re going to let you off with a warning, understood.” Stupidity rose up into my uncles’ throat. “Oh, you have to be joking, are you effin’ Scottish?” The cops stopped. “Come out here slowly with your hands up, we’re taking you down to the station.” This man’s accent was less warming than Big Joe’s. Handcuffs wrapped around my uncles wrists, destroying what dignity he had left. Lights flashed in the distance, showing off that there was a person sad and alone in the back of the car. That night Kay Kay and I laid with Honey as she slept the silence unbearable.
No one discussed it and to be honest I didn’t want to destroy Honey’s family’s reputation anymore than it was to my mom and because my dad’s mom’s funeral was the next day. I waited until family was brought up between my mom and Honey’s younger sister to tell my mom, a good few years later. I kept it in my mind and hoped that my mom wouldn’t inquire about why I was so quiet, she probably thought I was thinking about my grandmother. During the funeral the priest said “I knew a story about Kay. Now we all knew that she was petrified of driving in the snow, but when she heard of her new grand-daughter being adopted by her son she was thrilled! She marched out of her house to her car and drove, through a blizzard just to meet this new bundle of joy. I also know that that little girl is here today, would she stand for us. Carolyn!” Wow, another person mispronouncing my name. I had tuned in just then and saw everyone staring at me. “It’s Caroline”. I found my voice not so trembly like my body was, but clear. I looked out at the crowd of people sitting in the church and saw a different color, black. It wasn’t blue which had been the color I had associated with sadness. I raised my head as my cousin reached his hand up and squeezed mine. I knew from then on- not everything is so tragic in life.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this piece due to having a prompt in class that related with a personal expirience

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