Love Is Blue

I saw you on the corner of Diamond Street. Funny name for a street, everyone says so. Usually there is some landmark that lends itself to a street name, like a view or a famous person, but I don’t recall the history books ever mentioning diamonds being found in the middle of the city.

Perhaps they were referring to people like me who saw people like you and thought just like Uncle Ronnie used to say: ‘He’s a real diamond.’ Maybe everyone who stood on this spot felt the same way I do, until it became a trend, such a frequent, noticeable occurrence that the town planners caught on and decided to name a street after the phenomenon.

On the corner of Diamond Street you were holding two red cushions. Silk. Embroidered with darker red birds. An odd thing to be carrying in the street, some would say, but as soon as I saw them I knew they were for me.

I’m in my Red Period, you see. Not that I’m an artist or anything; like Matisse when he went through that period where he painted with lots of reds. Oh no, I’m just a humble collector. Of colour. Lots of colour. At the moment it’s red.

I don’t know why I do it or how it started, I just get colours in my head and find I can’t shake them until I’ve gathered as many things as I can in that colour. Found objects, the modern artists call it; although, to be frank, some of the exhibitions I’ve seen consisting of found objects on display just look like a collection of garbage. There is nothing beautiful about a mouldy milk carton.

Yesterday I found a series of perfect red leaves. I was so delighted I skipped a bit on the way home. Now I have those leaves lined up on the window sill, facing North for luck. They catch the light like exclamation marks, I have a heavily punctuated window sill.

You, Jake, my love, understand my need for colour. You indulge my whimsy. You have found roses, carnadine as a Queen’s coronation robes, a set of bright crimson teacups from the 1950s, a cloche hat the colour of Dorothy’s shoes on the yellow brick road.

At night as the ruby shadows climb, I almost feel soothed until I hear the chink of the bottle in my mother’s room. She allows no colour to enter. There is not even white or grey in her room, just a sense of emptiness. ‘I am the opposite of colour,’ she says, cackling witch-like, scraping at my nerves. I can’t agree with her, it is far too horrible a thought, for to me the opposite of colour is death.

You, my dear Jake, are leaving. Moving to England. ‘Come with me,’ you say, looking past me to my mother’s door.

My mother laughs when I tell her of your offer. A new life across the sea. ‘They all leave,’ she says, firm in her resentment of all members of the male gender. ‘It’s as predictable as breathing.’ Her one remaining ankle is purple, she has lost the other to gin. I am now as responsible for her as I would be for my own child. For your child.

You speak of homes, respite care, but my mother is sly. She knows all the tricks to get me to stay. I cannot deny I feel responsible. So I watch you go, the locks gleaming like fish scales on your brand new suitcase.

‘Take me with you,’ I whisper as you signal for a cab. ‘Take me far away from here.’ You mouth I love you as the cab drives away and something else I can’t quite catch, drowned out by the sound of glass breaking in my mother’s room.

The next morning my red room is oppressive, dark as blood. I run to the street and see berries hanging over a fence, red as Christmas. When I hold them to the light they are brown underneath. My red lipstick is chapping my lips, my red boots are uncomfortable in the heat.

I come to the corner of Diamond Street where I used to see you and find a note pinned to a signpost. The paper is soft as raindrops, summer sky blue.

I will come back for you, it says in your writing. Someday soon.

I walk along, see a world brushed with the wings of bluebirds. It is a new time, lifted as morning.

I will come back for you.

The light is astonishing. Laughter rings from doorways. There is warmth inside me.

I will come back for you.

The red days are gone, unneeded. It is time to redo my collection. For you.

Love is blue on the corner of Diamond Street.

*Inspired by the SES prompt take me with you.

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32 thoughts on “Love Is Blue

  1. How lovely! I really love the ending, Selma. She’s like a bower bird collecting along a certain colour.

    There is a tribe here, actually originally from Namibia, the Baherero. Long ago in the 80’s there was an American woman here studying them and every time she wanted to take a photo of one of the women, they would first run in their houses and collect items of a certain colour- maybe red or blue.- and arrange them in front of themselves before having the picture taken, a plate, an iron a salt shaker etc. . Something about that has always seemed so charming. Such a love for colour.

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  2. Wow! This story really packs a punch and on so many levels Selma. Your writing just keeps getting better and better. This was such an imaginative and gripping work. I want more….

    Hugs, G

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  3. Thank you for getting me to read some fiction, for a change. Everything has to be factual with me. You’re a good influence.

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  4. ANTHONY:
    Thanks, hon. I really appreciate your positive feedback.

    LAURI:
    Oh, I love that story. It is so charming, so wonderful. I can just picture it. It has made my day hearing about that!

    GERALDINE:
    Oh, how kind you are. Thanks, G. What a lovely thing to say!!

    RICHARD:
    You must be drowning in facts at times, what with your line of work and all. Glad to help. 😀

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  5. I come here for a dip in some really good writing and I never go away disappointed! There is such intensity in your work, Selma, every story pulls me in and makes me want more. I love the concept of collecting color. I subconsciously do that and had never really thought about it before. Thank you for sharing with us!

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  6. Hi Selma, I really liked your story. It would make an excellent Jim Jarmusch-ish type short film. I can see the images of your story on a screen (in a cinema like the Valhalla in Glebe) perhaps in black and white with splashes of the significant colours and with the narrator of the story narrating the film via voiceover ala ‘American Beauty’. The last line of your story “Love is blue on the corner of Diamond Street” reminded me of Tom Waits, of his song titles, his lyrics
    Good work, excellent in fact, thanks. DavidM.

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  7. the mother/child dynamic chillingly honest and the story, perfectly executed – really nice read – I’m left wondering, caring about the note and whether or not he will really return – well done!!

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  8. selma…i love the feel of this story….soft hopeful love with a touch of whimsy.

    if i was to have an obsession (or a healthier one perhaps 🙂 I would like it to be one of colour. today, i will collect green. 🙂

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  9. Strange, how little it takes to send the mind back a few years. The words , “people like you”, took me back to a smal gin mill in which I had no right to be, because I was with someone with whom I should not have been. As miserable as I was that evening, I have never forgotten the cafe owner’s words , “Here’s to people like you who make people like me like people like you.”

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  10. Oh, dear! Showing my age!

    But, I remember Vicki Leandros singing that song in the Eurovision Song Contest … how many years ago? It sparked off about a dozen cover versions, two or three of which reached the Top Twenty (eg:Ted Heath, the Paul Mauriat Orchestra) but poor Ms. Leandros never did!

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  11. I apologise for my very late response to your lovely comments. One of those weeks, I’m afraid….

    NAT:
    Colour is such an emotive thing for me. There is definitely something healing abut it.

    PAUL:
    Wow. What an amazing comment. I don’t deserve such high praise, really. Thank you!!

    JOSIE:
    I am so happy you said that about collecting colour because I think a lot of people do. It really fascinates me!

    SPEEDCAT:
    How nice of you to stop by. I have seen you a lot around the blogosphere. Pleasure to meet you!!

    PUNATIK:
    You are far too kind to me. Cheers, hon!!

    DAVID:
    Well, as you know I love my independent films and film-makers. What a compliment. As a former Glebe resident I joined a campaign to keep the Valhalla open but we failed. It broke my heart. Such a beautiful art deco cinema. Now it has been turned into offices. I wanted to buy it when it was up for sale, but sadly, at over 3 million dollars, I was a little short. I always feel a little stab of regret when I go past it on the bus.

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  12. DAN:
    I thought of that as a result of something a friend of mine said in passing. She had this really bright silk scarf and everywhere she went people commented on it. ‘I feel so alive when I wear this scarf,’ she said. Just got me thinking about the way we’d feel without colour.

    GROOVY:
    Just like the song says:
    ‘You gotta have hope
    Mustn’t sit around and mope
    Nothing’s half as bad as it may appear
    Wait till next year and hope…’

    KAYT:
    I wonder too. It’s odd when a story you’ve written does that, isn’t it? I mean, I should know what happens, but I don’t. Part of the fun of writing, I guess!

    TR:
    Thanks so much. Great to hear from you, mate!

    DANA:
    You and I are on the same wavelength. I am in a green phase at the moment. Actually, it’s lasted for quite a few years. Sometimes I look like a weird kind of elf with all my green. It’s fun!!

    MARY:
    I am often transported by stray phrases too. I love that about stories, it makes me feel so connected to the writer. Love your ‘people like you’ story!!

    QUERULOUS:
    OMG. I am so excited. To appear in one of your stories. What an honour. I am on my way!

    JONAS:
    Thanks, hon!

    TRAVELRAT:
    I remember Vicky Leandros. ‘Come What May’ was my favourite song when I was six. I used to sing it all the time.
    ‘Come what may
    I will love you forever
    And forever my heart belongs to you….
    Now I know I was lost till I met you
    When I met you love told me what to do…
    Come what may
    In a world full of changes
    Nothing changes my love for you.’
    Truly awesome.
    I actually have a record of greatest hits from 1972 and she is on it. I play it every now and then. Very cool stuff!

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  13. I like the reference to colors and her love of colors, and the character is a charming woman but how awful in a way that her mother keeps her away from the man she loves

    why didn’t they both go with Jake, the mother sounds likes she’s immobile, not to sound harsh but I don’t think she should stop her daughter from being happy but I guess I sort of like the ending anyhow and somehow blue isn’t a sad color as it usually is and it is very hopeful

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  14. As someone else said, it is good to be coaxed to read some fiction once in a while. I so rarely pick up a book and would probably not read a blog that was all fiction – but to find it here is good for me. Mostly because I like the way you write – mix in bits of what you think, feel and have done.

    I was going to email you but I couldn’t find an email address so I didn’t. I presume you prefer it that way?

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  15. SPEEDCAT:
    You are very welcome!

    LISSA:
    I think that deep down the mother didn’t want her to be happy. She hated men and Jake was included in that, but I do think it would have been nice if they could all have been together in the end. Yeah, in this case blue was more hopeful than sad. One of my favourite colours!

    VANESSA:
    I love doing things like that. Such a challenge. I would love to read what you came up with!!

    RELUCTANT:
    I’ll email you shortly. I haven’t put an email address on this blog, mainly because I didn’t think about it. Thanks for your kind words. They mean a lot!!

    MELEAH:
    Likewise for me. Can’t wait to read your next chapter. That is going to be a best seller!

    CRICKET:
    No need to apologise. I have been really bad at getting around the blogs lately. I hope you’ve recovered from your recent illness.

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  16. EVE:
    I don’t necessarily always like a super sweet happy ending, but i do like a hopeful ending. Got to be a light at the end of the tunnel, if you know what I mean….

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  17. Another delicious morsel to add to my long list of favorites. Sometimes the only way hope can get a toehold is when we allow it to change our direction and perspective.

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