The Private Lives of Colours

.... sucking his favourite colour of pear drop till it was transparent, almost colourless ... holding the sticky brittle disc up to his eye, a monocle – seeing the world through it: a sweeter and sunnier place ...

... now, there's a guilty pleasure – creeping into his mother's room to filch her nail varnish – yes, that shade she never dared to wear – to paint his Matchbox Toy racing car .... a Maserati, he recalls...

... trying to Tippex out the red ink mark, the See Me - in his exercise book – the only one, but inexcusable – he dabbed and dabbed, until it turned to thick blancmange – but never, ever, blameless white ...

*

... the new tree, that the garden centre swore was it, blossomed at last… and was wrong – too fleshy-plush, a crude brash imitation of the one that had shadowed his childhood’s window, wrapping him up in its scent that was almost too much… until the day his father gave in to grandmother’s grumbles – it’s like a forest in here, she said – and chopped it down...

... the page he always turned to in his Observer’s Book of Butterflies – the one he never saw – half way to moth, as much Queen of the Night as Emperor – a colour shading to and glancing off the black as if the thing itself had fluttered close enough to feel, glanced off the moment, to its dark side, always almost or just gone...

... you couldn’t take the taste of me, unsweetened – or, having spilled me, ever get me out of your clothes – blunt my edge (please), mollify me with the custard, stir lashings of cream till I sit on your tongue with a sting that’s (only) half a pleasure, dressed like royalty: the king himself, or his velvet-clad Fool...

[The pleasure of this, of course, is writing your own. First that and then, if there are several of you, asking each other to guess. If you're like me, you will have colour-memories from way back, maybe before I had any words for them. Which is, incidentally, my riposte to the language-theorist's proposition that language, just language, is what creates our experience of the world.]

Published: 21 July, 2018