My skin has a pink tone and I get red before brown in the sun that kids always draw as a big yellow orb in the sky surrounded by blue space and white clouds for art projects in elementary school where the playground has both green (healthy and new) and brown (dried and dead) grass growing and there is often a hill that children love to roll down with their arms stretched out and toes pointed inside neon orange sneakers some with flashing pink lights as they walk across the black asphalt parking lot to their parent’s silver SUV. School is out for the day and it is time to go home driving by the pink, white, blue, tan, red brick houses until making it to their own home which has purple violets growing in dark soil that have been fertilized with manure that floats through the air and if the smell of manure had a color it would be greenish brown. At home, there are bright blueberry popsicles as a snack before dinner. Dinner is a green salad with red tomatoes and two tone green cucumbers with olive oil, pink Himalaya salt, squeezed lemon and white chunks of fresh feta cheese along with macaroni and cheese that is almost the color of a light pumpkin and hot dogs not because they are nutritious but because mothers and fathers get tired of struggling with kids about what they will and won’t eat, the salad is for the adults, most adults like salad but not all of them and kids grow to be adults and join the ranks of the responsible, those of us who have to wear sunscreen because we have been told that burning your skin puts you at risk for cancer like everything else these days like dyes that are put in food, everything is suspect, it is all about health and staying young which none of us do as our hair turns silver and falls out. When I worked for an architecture firm the colors for walls, for carpets, for tile, for trim had names like split pea, showtime, chambourd, canvas, interlude and it reminded me of a box of Crayola Crayons but more difficult to imagine which color the words described. Magenta was my favorite color crayon along with midnight blue. I used those two crayons so much that they were stubs while other colors like burnt orange barely had a dent in its tip. In the days before diversity, there was a crayon called flesh that was related to the color peach. When I paint, I make people’s skin green because it looks better that way and then no one knows about such things as white, black or brown. Green, like an apple before it is ripe or a Granny Smith that never turns red, skin that is forever green, green like a monster is how they describe jealousy an emotion I rarely feel at my age but like everyone I have had my experiences with it and I think it should be red. Red is the color of a rose (and white, and orange, and pink) and love and passion and rage. All of my emotions are sitting in a box of color crayons just waiting to be assigned a color. There are jacarandas trees lining my street and at a certain time of year all the petals fall it is like purple snow piled across the sidewalks and there are white flowers in the bushes so fragrant they are jasmine and their smell which lingers for at least a block brings me back to Cairo Egypt where young men often sold necklaces strung with jasmine to the passing cars they would put their arm covered by the necklaces of white flowers inside the car window and the car that was usually black and smelled of cigarettes would be floral, an instant floral shop on wheels. The whole thing makes me feel exactly like I did when I was seventeen and had a full head of red hair that was bleached in streaks by the desert sun that was so bright it burned my eyes. I don’t want to be friends with people from high school where they proudly promote that we were/are Eagles brown and white soaring through the sky. Sore is right like a festering blister that has been on my peach/pink/pale skin for over thirty years. High school is like an infection that oozes red bloody white puss on the present day. I am drawn back in by social media. The status updates are always purple, pink glitter happy rainbow unicorns and my life is good too, but they manage to make me feel outside and less always. Always like the color of the sand on the beach, tan. I have seen white sandy beaches and rain that falls from the sky so hard in minutes you are soaked and your blue jeans become almost black with the fullness of the liquid they retain. Dark day yesterday, storm clouds of deep gray in my mind as my therapist wouldn’t easily let me go as a client. Guilt is the color of the night sky in an open space. Slimy like the deep dark green kale on the ocean’s floor that washes onto the beach and often has a balloon-like head to it that if you step on it pops like a firecracker on the Fourth of July. Red little stars, blue little stars, white little stars and everything is patriotic all day and flags are waving, and people might mention Betsy Ross if they have any memory at all as to who she was and why she mattered. We forget our history like white slate or a blackboard wiped clean by a green erasure that a teacher threw across the room to get the boy who talks all the time to shut up. I love school and reading and educating myself about many topics brown paper bags serve as a book cover you got instructions on how to make the first day of class. I don’t know my husband’s favorite color he wears casual slacks that are tan, green, brown and black. On the weekends, he wears a burnt orange shirt that my mom bought him nine years ago or a yellow and green Sprite shirt that I won in a contest. I have been in a white limousine with flashing little lights once in my life the interior was crushed blue velvet, and I know it sounds like I am lying, but I try not to lie. Lies are a shade of blue. I occasionally tell a blue shade of a lie when people put me on the spot, and I either don’t want to hurt their feelings liking to keep things upbeat and on a yellow spectrum than, to be honest which can be more like a splatter of red paint or a spill of red wine on a llama hide carpet. The thought of a llama hide carpet made me think of food. I rarely eat meat red, white, brown, pink – most of it, no. I occasionally have some crispy brown bacon with black edges, and once in a while, I will eat pink smoked salmon or reddish pink salami. When I was a kid my mom made meats that were all gray, and only one of my brothers grew up eating the stuff. The rest of us shy (pink as in blushing) away from it as much as possible. My first car was a Plymouth, and it was a peachy color. My second car was a white Subaru that I drove through the front of a 7-11 one night when I was stressed out (fire engine red), and I was so lucky no one was hurt because there were people standing in line who had to run from the nose of my car and all of that glass the whole store front fell like little shiny crystals all over the tan tile and the grey cement. The cop didn’t flash the red lights, but he was mean to me at first. I was wearing a purple shirt black pants and black pointed leather shoes. The second officer was nice and asked why I didn’t roll down my window and say that I thought it was a drive-thru. I didn’t receive a pink ticket or anything, and it was ruled an accident. A colorful accident to be sure the color of scared (definitely bright orange, probably with a neon glow) the color of people’s clothes, the color of the officer’s uniforms which were the deepest darkest blue, the color of the cop cars which were, white with a dark writing, the color of all those products lined on the shelves of a convenience store, a rainbow. Gay pride in action and that is why I ran my car through the 7-11. It was the early 90’s, and my brother’s partner had just died of AIDS, it hit the gay community the hardest (a Jackson Pollock painting) purple lesions and less than eighty pounds, a thick mixture of orange – urine and blood in a sack at the bottom of the bed. Every week it seemed someone else we knew died of that plague. Ring around the rosy pocketful of posies ashes ashes we all fall down. Back to the grass and how it is green when it is young and watered and alive and how it is brown when it is shriveled and dry and how kids like to paint pictures of things like their families and how psychologist always attribute so much meaning to those drawings. I wonder what they think of that big yellow orb in the blue sky with the white clouds. I like to think it is picture perfect even if they colored outside of the lines because life is like that color here –color there- color everywhere.