This week’s prompt, if you will recall, was the color blue.
What I like about this project, besides for providing writers (including myself) with such an opportunity, is how despite using the same prompt, all the stories are so unique.
This week we had three different submissions (along with my own). I chose the color blue because it has such significance in our language, such weight. Debbie Felio’s short piece illustrates this point exactly with her story that doubles as a poem. Jonah Jones‘ story is as philosophical as it is humorous. And Dennis Leneave‘s title alone combines the two most common associations with the color blue, sky and eyes, to carry us readers along through the lives of his characters.
And as for my own story, well, all I can say is that I enjoyed writing it and I am glad to have it read in company with the others.
by deb y felio
the promise in
flames in fires
the pain in
me and you.
The Division Between Blue and Blue
by Jonah Jones
The observer watched the seagull as it carved the wind; black against the blue sky, white against the blue sea. The observer’s logic stated that the seagull must be grey when it was on the horizon between the two kinds of blue. The transformation should be observable. The observer manipulated the position of his eyes to catch that fleeting moment and discovered that the logic had been flawed. On the unreal mark between blue and blue, the bird disappeared. The observer moved his head to find the bird, crouched and then stood tall, looked this way and that but the creature was no longer there to be observed.
The observer had pushed the bird out of existence simply by manipulating the means of observation. This was a wonderment indeed. The observer stood and looked around at all the empty blue and began to make his way home, contemplating the possibilities of what had happened. After much mental juxtapositioning of fact and causality, the observer came to the conclusion that existence depended upon existence being observed.
Just before the seagull’s unquestionably real guano hit the top of the observer’s head, the shock of which caused the observer’s heart to stop and his existence to end.
The seagull flew on, not wondering about anything, simply observing.
THE GIRL WITH THE SKY BLUE EYES
She came from a prosperous planters family. They farmed a couple hundred acres of rich bottom land that straddled both sides of good luck creek 4 miles north of Berea Kentucky. She had a fair complexion and fine light wavy hair. She had all the vigor and beauty of youth. She had hands like all country girls that were as equally skilled at threading a needle as they were at wringing a chickens neck. She had two older brothers Eugene and Buck and her younger sisters Judy and Beatsie. Her daddy was Alexander Johnson, named after his daddy who was named after his daddy and his before that all the way back to the son of Philip of Macedon or so you would’ve thought. Her mother died of scarlet fever when she was 13 and was buried in a grove of red buds on a bluff overlooking the farm.
He was from the hills and hollers of southern Rockcastle County. His family had a homestead log cabin above Hard Luck Creek a mile south of Big Hill. He was 18 years old and had black thick coarse hair like all melungeons of Hunish descent. He kept it trimmed in a flat top so perfect it felt like a horse brush if you passed your hand across it. He was tall and lean to the point of being almost gaunt, just like all the hill people of Southeast Kentucky. He had dark deep set sad eyes and a dark complexion. His limbs while thin, were long and possessed strength that only hardship and toil can bestow. His father’s father rode with Mosby’ s Raiders under the direction of John Bell Hood. He and his brothers carried shotguns everywhere they went and occasionally a pistol. In this part of middle America the civil war still hadn’t ended. It was 1942.
No one knows how it happened but Ruth Evelynn Johnson became “with child”.
“Daddy” Johnson, as we all came to know him was furious. They called it throwing a Johnson fit and if you ever were the recipient of a Johnson fit, it wasn’t a lesson you quickly forgot! It was all the men of the town could do to stop daddy from riding with his hired hands to Big Hill to kill the hood, John B Hunman.
It was Everette’s idea to send them north.
John B told Everette, his brother, he reckoned to make Evelyn his wife. This was accomplished through a great uncle who was justice of the county. Everette told John B, go to Ohio. There’s factories there that will pay a man 2 dollars an hour. With the war going on there’s plenty of work and overtime pay at one and half times your wage. Go! Leave us here to filter the coal dust, besides we don’t need Daddy Johnson here throwing no damn fits!
She bore him 7 more children. He brought her home to Daddy one weekend a month for the rest of his life. Traveling the Dixie Highway. He retired from that factory 50 years later and died the next year. He had bought her a house on a little farm with a vegetable garden and chickens, an apple orchard and grape arbor, a strawberry patch, 3 peach trees and 2 pear. She created and raised his family.
At the funeral Daddy Johnson still alive and in his 90s refused to sit and demanded he help bear the casket of that hood John B Hunman.
Evelyn lived another 10 years and when she died her grandson found this piece of paper tucked away in a scrap book photo album. Yellowed with age and the simple typed heading that read.
BEREA CHURCH OF GOD
34 E MONMOUTH ST.
Scribbled in pencil below it said…..
I came to this dance
The boys from the holler
Don’t tell no lies
Girls a plenty
Standin in line
Everette lit the punch bowl
With our finest shine
The moon came full
I seen it rise
Then I saw you
With your sky blue eyes
I asked you to dance
You kicked real fine
I’ll be back next moon
To make you mine
He only liked blue-eyed girls. This was something a mutual friend told me, gently telling me that I stood no chance. It made sense, I thought, as looking into his eyes was like flying across the clearest of skies. It only seemed fair that if you gave someone such an experience you would want the same in return.
So I went to the surgeon, the one I had heard about, and browsed through his catalogue. There were two options, either to dye the iris through a series of injections or to do a complete transplant. Next to the receptionist’s desk, there was a glass freezer case with donor eyes on display. There were some really beautiful pairs but the blue ones were the most expensive. And there was a waiting list, the receptionist told me. If I added my name, I would be number fifty-six. It could take over a year.
After considering this for a few minutes, I made an appointment for my first dyeing session the following day. I went ahead and selected a gorgeous topaz hue that was guaranteed to sparkle in the sunlight.
Naturally, I was nervous. I am not a fan of needles and hate anything coming into contact with my eyeballs, even eye drops make me cringe. But he was worth it. So I took some Valium and laid down on the paper-covered doctor’s table.
The doctor apologized afterward. He sneezed, the needle slipped. He assured me that it would get better, that the blue-tinted vision would fade. And when it did, I could return for another session.
But it never did and now my world is blue but my eyes remain unappealingly brown. I feel as though I am living in my own private sea and it is lonely. I still manage to go through my days as I always have but I cannot escape the truth of our vulnerability, that our reality can be altered so easily. No one else knows about failed dye job but everyone, even he, has noticed my low spirits. I have tried to describe to them how futile it is to depend on the seen world, that what we perceive to be true is subject to corruption. But philosophical topics are not very popular in my crowd so I have learned to keep my silence.
Luckily, I will be back to my old self soon enough. You see, the good thing though about that little sneeze is that my name got bumped up to the top of the waiting list. By this time next month, that sapphire pair on the top shelf will belong to me. I even got a coupon. Buy one, get one free.