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The Colour of Love
I looked out over the undoubtedly beautiful lake, and smiled. The wind tossed my dark hair back and blew at the sheets of my sketchbook. The colours must have been fantastic on the lake, just as the sun set over the tree line. I had tried to sketch it, but no matter what I did, it just didn't seem right. Was it the colours that I had wrong?
“That's a beautiful drawing you have there.” A voice rang out from behind me, and I almost jumped as a man sat down next to me.
“Thanks,” I said, feeling a blush spread across my cheeks. I never was good at taking compliments.
“May I?” He asked, gesturing toward my sketchbook, I shrugged. He was silent as he looked through the pages. He looked at them with a calculating eye, as if scoring each one.
“These are amazing.” He finally concluded, closing the book. I blushed even deeper. “But,” my smile faltered, “Why isn't there any colour?” He asked, and I sighed at the question that I had heard so many times before.
“I just…can’t get the colours right.” I lied, knowing that wasn’t the real reason, but it wasn’t really worth explaining.
“I’m Corrie.” The man said, extending his hand. I stood before taking it.
“Juno.” I said under my breath, feeling embarrassed of the name I had been given.
“Like the Goddess?” Corrie asked, I sighed and nodded slightly. “I like it.” He smiled, and I just blushed deeper.
“My turn to ask a question.”
Corrie nodded. “Go for it.”
“Why do you look at art like it’s a math problem? It isn’t something you can get right or wrong, it’s something you use to express yourself.” I felt myself blush again as I noticed I had been ranting. “Sorry…” I muttered under my breath. He just laughed it off.
“Okay, I’ll make a deal with you. You draw something with colour and I will look at it like you said.” He offered his hand. “Deal?”
I was hesitant to take it, I had never drawn with colour, because I just didn’t know how. Not to mention the fact that all of the colours just looked like different shades of grey. None the less, I couldn’t help but want to see Corrie looking at my pictures with affection. “Deal.” I said taking his hand.
It was warm and hard, like it had done some hard work, yet at the same time, it was gentle, like it was used to holding breakable stuff. He smiled.
“Then, how about we meet at my office later. Here.” He handed me a business card with his name on it. I smiled.
Now all I needed to do was figure out what to draw.
I walked to my small apartment in Downtown Queens. It was a simple apartment with no view and it only had what I needed. I fell onto my old navy blue sofa, flipping open my sketchbook and turning to a blank page. I closed my eyes thinking about what to draw, and finally I decided on just sketching and working with whatever came out.
When I finally finished the outline to what I was drawing, I stood, rummaging through one of the many boxes that I had yet to unpack, despite having moved here almost two months ago.
When I came across an old box of coloured pencils, I pulled it out, opened it, and spread them out over the coffee table placed before my TV. They were all just different shades of grey. I placed them all so that they were sitting with the name of the colour up. I looked down at them, and although they had the colour names on them, I didn’t know what any of them looked like, not really.
I looked back down at the picture I had drawn, thinking deeply about what to do with it. I looked back down at the card Corrie had given me, it had the address of Corrie’s gallery on it.
Before I could even talk myself out of it, I picked up my sketchbook and messenger bag, walking toward the street the gallery was on.
It was a cool autumn day, and the breeze was gentle as it blew my hair into my apparently blue eyes. The street wasn’t crowded, other than the signs that sat outside of the little shops. It didn’t take long until I had reached the gallery. It was little, and kind of hidden in between two larger buildings.
When I opened the door a little bell chimed, making anyone inside notice that someone had entered.
“Welcome.” I heard a familiar voice say, as a head of brown hair popped around the corner. “Oh, Juno!” I was surprised by how happy he was to see me.
“Hello.” I said, blushing lightly at the thought of someone being happy to see me.
“What can I help you with?” He asked, looking very willing to help with anything I asked. Not that that made anything I was about to say any easier.
“I don’t know my colours. I can’t know my colours, I’ve never seen them.” I rambled, not bothering to take a breath. I looked up at him through my bangs.
“Your…colour blind?” He asked, looking surprised. I nodded slightly, feeling myself blush even deeper. “Okay, that’s good to know!” He smiled reassuringly.
“W-what?” I stammered. “How is that good?”
“It means that I can teach you something in return. Let’s make a deal, I, Corrie, will teach you, Juno, about colours if you will teach me how to look at art with as much love and pleasure as you do. Deal?” He asked. I was dumbstruck as I just stared at him, his smiling face not making any jokes, he was completely serious.
“Deal.” I smiled back.
“Let’s start with something simple, do you know what colour the sky is?” he asked, I laughed at the way he said it, like he wouldn’t be surprised if I said no.
“Yes, I know the sky is blue.” I said. “But I don’t know what that means.” He nodded.
“Well, that is something we will have to learn to deal with.”
“We?” I asked, wondering why he put it like that.
“Yes, we are in this together now. I said that, didn’t I?” I wanted to cry at how nice and patient he was being with me.
“Did you know, my parents were both painters. They were so happy when they learned that they had a daughter that could draw. It broke their hearts when they learned that their only daughter was incapable of seeing their painting for what they wanted her to. I felt so bad to disappoint them like that, I was scared that they hated me. That wasn’t true, my parents loved me, they just wished that I was able to love art the way that they did.” I smiled at him. “They would be happy to find out that I can now teach someone else what it means to see art like that.”
“And I’m sure they will be happy to learn that I can teach their daughter how to see colours without needing to see them.” I didn’t have time to wonder what that meant because he was already on the next subject.
That day Corrie and I focused on all of the different objects we could. Flowers, trees, animals, and even some people. And somehow, the colours no longer looked the same to me. They each had their own look, and it revolved around the face that Corrie made when he saw them. The reds gave him a smile and when he saw blues he got a look in his eyes that seemed almost sad.
“Like that Corrie, that’s how you need to look at art, like you can feel the emotions of the artist who made it.” Corrie nodded, mentally taking note.
“What were you thinking about when you drew this?” He asked, and I blushed, looking at the drawing of an eye I had drawn.
“You.” I stated, before looking away quickly.
“Really?” I blushed even deeper, trying to avoid his eyes.
“Are your eyes…green?” I asked. His face lit up.
“Yes! How did you know?” He asked enthusiastically.
“It just…It reminds me of how you look when you see green. It makes me feel like maybe I can finally see things like everyone else.” I wasn’t really sure how to put it. I just somehow knew. Kind of like how one knows that they are sad or happy, I knew his eyes were green.
Then it hit me, for the first time I realized something. A colour that no one else could see. One single colour in the mix of all the greys and blacks, and that colour was so bright, so different.
This was the colour of love.
I had fallen in love.
This was the colour of love.