Friday, May 6, 2016

Ocean Blue

"Ocean blue," he said, with a note of hesitation. Was it because he couldn't quite remember what she had told him, or because he was imagining, as he spoke, the color ocean blue might be?

I swallowed, and felt foolish, as I do so often lately, to discover the thick rise of tears.

Tomorrow he will attend his first and last prom. He will take a girl wearing ocean blue. I think that I would have liked to have a daughter so that we might together find a dress that recalled the ocean. But then the ocean can be so many shades of blue. Perhaps the dress is iridescent, not one blue nor another but all the blues at once.

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Today he carried home a little package containing his cap and gown. We hung it up. I calculated: a month and a handful of days until he wears it.

And yesterday. Yesterday he was a little boy drawing a boat, a boat trailed by an improbably large anchor and an active smokestack. That drawing he composed in crayon. It is framed simply, in lucite, and lives on a bathroom wall. I see it every day, and yet: how long has it been since I really looked at it?

As I study it now, I see that the boat rests somewhat awkwardly on, not in, the ocean. Its hull teeters on top of the water. Oh, but the artist was all of four years old, his imagination not yet constrained by the laws of physics.

The water, though, that water. There is no doubt. What else could it be but ocean blue?